Charlotte Hornets: Could LiAngelo Ball emerge as more than a feel-good story?

Charlotte Hornets (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could LiAngelo Ball emerge as something more than a feel-good story for the Charlotte Hornets?  

Heading into the NBA’s Summer League slate, one of the more intriguing storylines involved the Charlotte Hornets. But not because they selected a high-profile prospect with their first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but because of who they had given an opportunity to.

Most people know LiAngelo Ball not because he’s played in the NBA before, but because of who his two brothers are: Lonzo, his older sibling, and LaMelo, his younger sibling.

However, as most middle children are, LiAngelo always seemed overlooked. And perhaps rightfully so. LiAngelo didn’t have the dynamic guard skill set that his older brother Lonzo has, and didn’t have the size that his younger brother has.

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When he first tried to break into the league, LiAngelo always was viewed as too small to play his true position – power forward or center – and too slow and/or not skilled enough to play the guard position in the NBA. Thus, LiAngelo never really got a fair shot at the professional level. And his father, LaVar, didn’t do him any favors.

Now that LaVar has cooled down – I can’t remember the last time we heard his name in the headlines – and that both Lonzo and LaMelo have settled in as really good NBA players, it’s only natural for LiAngelo to finally get his fair chance.

And that’s exactly what the Hornets offered him with the Summer League invite. LiAngelo hasn’t let it gone by as just another passing offer. Instead, LiAngelo has actually impressed during his time playing with the Hornets’ Summer League squad.

In four games played thus far, LiAngelo is averaging 10.5 points per game on 42 percent shooting from 3-point range in 16 minutes per contest.

It seems that LiAngelo has left a strong impression with his work ethic and 3-point shooting thus far in Summer League. However, it remains to be seen if that will actually lead to a training camp invite and/or an actual spot on an NBA roster – perhaps one of the two-way sorts.

LiAngelo accepting a Summer League invite from the Hornets had to be originally viewed as nothing more than a feel-good story. In fact, I’m sure many will believe that it was simply a favor being done to LaMelo by the Hornets.

However, as LiAngelo continues to impress and change the narrative around his name, there’s a growing chance that this opportunity in Summer League could perhaps bloom into something more than that original feel-good story.

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Just a few years ago, I’m not sure anyone would believe that heading into the 2021-22 NBA season there’s at least an outside chance that all three Ball brothers would be on league rosters. It’s a very real possibility, with two of them leading playoff-hopeful teams at the point guard position.