It is finally time to write about LaVar Ball, the loving father slash professional carnival barker who has dedicated his life to instilling, nurturing and pushing (oh so much pushing) his sons’ NBA dreams.
Ball called the Detroit Pistons organization “raggedy as hell” after the Pistons waived LiAngelo, who was in Pistons camp on a non-guaranteed contract and faced extremely long (some might say impossible) odds to make the roster.
Ball’s reaction was captured in a Bleacher Report AMA on Monday:
“I definitely have thoughts on that. The people in Detroit are great. I love the fans, but the franchise over there is raggedy as hell. They don’t know a good player. I was giving them a lottery pick for free! Has the skills to play and the notoriety to bring everybody to the game. How do you throw that out the window? They’re gonna learn the hard way. My boys are gonna end up together playing somewhere. ‘Gelo can shoot the lights out. That was raggedy what they did. But hey, they’re gonna learn the hard way.”
Ball might be wearing his dad hat here, but if he was looking at it from the perspective of LiAngelo’s agent he wouldn’t have seen Detroit as a viable possibility in the first place. The Pistons are loaded with young players at the two guard positions, including No. 7 overall selection Killian Hayes.
The team also has 16 players with guaranteed contracts. Again, the NBA roster limit is 15. One player is already going to need to be cut, and the idea that a guy with zero NBA or even G League experience was going to leapfrog anyone was a straight up fantasy.
If to goal was to come out of training camp this season on an NBA roster, Detroit was never the place to turn to. Yet Ball says he “was giving them a lottery pick for free.” Maybe he was thinking about one of his other sons, I dunno. But if it was Ball’s decision to have LiAngelo in Detroit then, well, he’s got nobody to blame but himself. Furthermore, Detroit doesn’t even look like it’s going to send players to the G League this season, so that’s a double raggedy-ass move by papa Ball.
Let’s assume, however, that Ball’s bluster is just that, and this is playing out exactly as everyone involved knew it would.
The non-raggedy version of this tale is that a player who has struggled to find an entry point into the NBA, but has worked hard on his game was given a shot to show what he can do. He was given that opportunity by a new GM who remembered Ball, who served as a practice player with the OKC Blue of the G League and was poised to join the official roster before the season ended prematurely because of, you know, a worldwide pandemic.
Said new GM rewarded Ball’s hard work and perseverance with an invite to join a professional NBA training camp. He likely even got a little signing bonus to make it worth his while and reward him, at least a little bit, monetarily. He played zero minutes but got to learn alongside a whole crop of rookies who were basically in the same boat he was. He got to suit up alongside Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin.
Now, maybe, he has people from the Pistons organization willing to vouch for his hard work, dedication and improvement. Doesn’t sound raggedy as hell to me.
That’s the version of this story I’m going with, and now I’m going to continue not thinking or worrying about LaVar Ball ever again.