LaVar Ball's plan to turn his son LiAngelo into an NBA player appears to have one giant snag -- the NBA doesn't want him

Joshua Blanchard/GettyLiAngelo Ball (left) and his father LaVar (right) are going to train for the NBA Draft.

  • LiAngelo Ball has declared for the 2018 NBA Draft.
  • LaVar Ball pulled his son from UCLA due to his indefinite suspension for shoplifting in China.
  • Ball started his pro career early when he signed with a team in Lithuania’s second division.
  • Several reports have suggested NBA teams don’t consider Ball a legitimate NBA prospect.

LiAngelo Ball has declared for the 2018 NBA Draft, but now he has what may be his toughest task yet – convincing NBA teams to take a chance on him.

LaVar Ball announced in December that he had pulled out his son from UCLA because of his indefinite suspension from the team after being arrested in China for shoplifting. Ball then started his pro career early when he and his younger brother, LaMelo Ball, signed to play professionally in Lithuania.

On Tuesday, Ball’s agent told ESPN that his client will enter the NBA Draft. According to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Ball will workout for several teams and participate in the Pro Basketball Combine.

There appears to be one problem, however – several reports don’t sound promising for LiAngelo’s NBA future.

When it was announced that Ball was withdrawing from UCLA, Adam Zagoria of The New York Times and SNY tweeted an ominous quote from an NBA executive:

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that LiAngelo was not even considered a prospect by one GM.

Sam Vecenie, a college hoops and NBA Draft reporter for The Athletic, noted that LiAngelo may not even have many overseas options, let alone the NBA.

The Balls are currently playing in Lithuania’s second division.

LaVar Ball’s oldest son, Lonzo Ball, was one of the top prospects in the country and had a strong freshman season at UCLA that made him the No. 2 pick in the draft. And while LiAngelo was talented enough to get a scholarship from UCLA – as did LaMelo – there’s a gulf between being a college basketball player and being one of the 60 players taken in the NBA draft each year.

Even LaVar seemed to acknowledge this. In a profile on the Ball family from GQ’s Zach Baron, LaVar said he thought LiAngelo was the least likely to make the NBA. From Baron:

“I told my boys that one of them wasn’t going to make it. Because if you’ve got three, only one, maybe two make it to the NBA.’ He says, right in front of everyone, that he thinks it will be his middle son, LiAngelo, who doesn’t make it. He says he’s told him that. ‘He’s going to be taken care of either way,’ he says. At least Gelo is the handsomest of his sons, he says – if basketball doesn’t work out, maybe he could be a model.”

The shoplifting incident in China seems to have taken LaVar’s plan for a detour. While LiAngelo may never have been considered an NBA prospect by NBA teams, trying to get drafted without the benefit of playing for a major college basketball program won’t help his chances.

This story was originally published in December and has been updated.

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