LAS VEGAS -- Earlier this month, the Ball family was the main attraction in Las Vegas (sports-wise, at least). Lonzo Ball dominated the NBA Summer League circuit, with his sneaker choice a topic of discussion every night.
On Wednesday, the family returns to the desert -- with father LaVar and Lonzo's brother LaMelo taking center stage. Their Big Ballers AAU team is part of the Adidas Summer Championships, bringing together the best Adidas-sponsored travel basketball teams. Big Ballers played in the same event when Lonzo was a rising senior, and both the Ball family and Adidas will look to capitalize on the buzz again this week.
Here are five reasons to pay attention:
1. What will LaVar do?
LaVar Ball has been one of the hottest topics in sports over the past eight months or so, and that hasn't changed with him on the sideline as the coach of Big Ballers. Two weeks ago, LaVar was filmed yelling at his team following a loss, specifically calling out LaMelo for being selfish, not being a leader and not getting back on defense. This past weekend, LaVar pulled the team off the court during a game after disagreeing with a foul call and receiving a technical foul. Ball's team was winning by nine points when it happened, but had to forfeit the game. He's certainly not the only AAU coach with sideline antics, but he's the one most under the microscope.
2. LaMelo on a major stage
Not surprisingly, the Big Ballers team generally doesn't play on one of the three big shoe company circuits. It's an independent team and has played in mostly regional events all spring and summer. This week, however, it's on the Adidas circuit and will face off against some of the nation's best players and teams. It's a big week for LaMelo, as doubters constantly ask questions about his ability against major competition. He has continued to put up numbers despite playing up an age group, and dropped 50 points in a game earlier this month -- scoring 200 points in one five-game weekend. LaMelo is the No. 1-ranked point guard in the 2019 class and will get a chance to prove it this week.
3. Big individual tests for LaMelo
There's a big step up in competition this week for LaMelo, with head-to-head matchups scheduled against Immanuel Quickley and Devon Dotson, two of the best point guards in the 2018 class. Quickley is ranked No. 2 at his position in 2018, with a final four of Kentucky, Kansas, Miami and Maryland. Dotson, meanwhile, is coming off a tremendous week at the Under Armour All-American Camp, and will play with SC Supreme this weekend. He's the No. 7 point guard in the 2018 class. Defending these two high-level point guards will be the biggest test for LaMelo, as Quickley and Dotson love to attack off the dribble. Expect both players to take pride in limiting LaMelo at the other end, too. If LaMelo can win both of these matchups, the questions will begin to subside.
4. Will Lonzo be there?
The last time we saw Lonzo Ball, he was being named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League after averaging 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 9.3 assists. He has showed up at some of LaMelo's games in the past couple of months, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him back in Las Vegas this week. The biggest question: What shoes will he be wearing?
5. Don't forget Zion Williamson
It's not often that Zion Williamson, the No. 2-ranked senior in the country, doesn't get most of the attention at an event. He has appeared on SportsCenter, his dunks go viral every week, and he's the subject of a recruiting battle between the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson and others. His SC Supreme team plays against Big Ballers on Wednesday at 9 p.m. PT -- expect plenty of fireworks. It's undoubtedly the must-watch game of July.