Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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LaVar Ball Reverses Course, Says LiAngelo Ball Will Be in 2018 NBA Draft
NEW YORK —LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball will be in the Green Room with their older brother Lonzo for Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Whether they both get there in future years on their own merit remains to be seen.
“Media table is going to be me, my two brothers, my dad and then two close family friends,” Lonzo said Wednesday ahead of the draft where he is projected as the No. 2 pick to the Los Angeles Lakers, although he said he has no guarantee.
After initially telling GQ that his middle son, LiAngelo, wasn’t going to be an NBA player, LaVar Ball said Wednesday that LiAngelo would be in the 2018 NBA Draft.
“I’m not even done with this,” LaVar told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “You know I gotta do this three times in a row. This is just the start, just to let you all get a little tease.
“I’ll be here next year, I’ll be here next year again. Again with Jello, same interview with Jello. And then wait another year with Melo.”
LiAngelo, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound shooting guard known as Jello, has signed with UCLA for the upcoming season, but is not projected on the DraftExpress.com or NBADraft.net mocks for 2018.
LaMelo, a flashy 6-2 point guard who scored 92 in a game in February for Chino Hills (CA), is projected in 2020 mock drafts.
“Melo’s always talking, in one ear, out the other, Lonzo said. “He’s definitely learning from it [the draft experience], he says he’s going to be better so we’ll see.”
LaVar’s latest comments represent a 180 from what he told GQ about LiAngelo.
“I told my boys that one of them wasn’t going to make it,” LaVar said. “Because if you’ve got three, only one, maybe two make it to the NBA,” Ball said, adding that LiAngelo is “going to be taken care of either way.”
Lonzo Ball said Wednesday that his middle brother is a totally different kind of player from him.
“I think Jello will fit in well because we lose Bryce [Alford] and Isaac [Hamilton] so we lose two scorers that brought a lot to the table,” Lonzo said. “And I think he can fill that gap.
“I’m a facilitator, like to get my teammates involved, he’s just a pure scorer. I’m 195, he’s 240 so he’s a lot bigger than I am.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.