We know how LaVar Ball's last one-on-one basketball challenge was received, but his most recent one might have some legs to it.
Of course, the first take I'm referring to was when the patriarch of the Ball family (in)famously said that he could take down, oh, just Michael Jordan in a casual game of one-on-one. Ball, a forward for Washington State during the 1987-1988 Pac-10 season, finished with 2.2 points and 2.3 rebounds on 40.4 percent shooting... not bad! He finished with 56 points in his 26-game college career. Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, had 10 games throughout his career where he scored at least 56 points.
"It doesn't deserve a response, but I'ma give it to you because you asked the question," Jordan said of Ball's claim. "I don't think he could beat me if I was one-legged."
The claim obviously resurfaced when Jordan's Charlotte Hornets selected LaVar's son, LaMelo, with the third overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. And while the LaVar-MJ matchup still has some juice to it, another hypothetical one-on-one clash was brought to LaVar's attention on Tuesday.
In Bleacher Report's "Ask Me Anything" session with the CEO of Big Baller Brand, LaVar was asked who would win between LaMelo and Warriors star Steph Curry.
"Stop it, LaMelo," Ball said. "Steph is too little, he's only like 6'3" or 6'2". LaMelo is taller than him and longer than him."
He's not wrong about that. At 6-foot-7 and 194 pounds, the youngest Ball has a significant size advantage over the 6-foot-3, 184-pound Curry. We finally got to see Ball grace an NBA court on Saturday, when he finished with a solid yet flawed stat line: zero points on 0-of-5 shooting, four assists, 10 rebounds and four turnovers. His court vision was particularly on display:
But in one-on-one, court vision isn't too important. And Curry has never been one to become an unusable asset when a larger body is defending him. Sorry, but no one's defending this:
Then again, LaMelo put up a casual 92 points in a high school game that went viral, and he didn't exactly seem guardable then:
But that was against high school players. Against NBA players? Who knows. On the other hand, Dwyane Wade is one of the many top-tier NBA stars who have labeled Steph as "unguardable" in his own right.
If you couldn't tell already, I'm Team Steph in this situation. But for more evidence, take a look at NBA.com's Eric Fawcett's scouting report of Ball, with the weaknesses highlighted below that would probably play a part in determining the outcome of this matchup.
Ball's jump shot is broken and needs to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up. Right now it's a pushed, two-handed release that was likely developed from him trying to shoot from too far from the hoop when he was too young to have the strength to shoot correctly. That form has persisted and his crooked jump shot was lucky to climb up to 24% in the NBL after he started in the single digits for the first weeks of the season.
In terms of athleticism, Ball would be below average by NBA standards and doesn't have an explosive first step. Right now he relies heavily on his ball-handling abilities to get penetration and while he is tremendous with the dribble he may struggle against NBA players who are more disruptive with their hands than anyone Ball has previously faced.
At times Ball's effort on the defensive end is legitimately laughable. When he wants to show up on that side of the floor he has the length to get stops and has the IQ to diagnose actions and make proper rotations but sadly those plays are few and far between.
Advantage: Steph. Who do you have as the winner? Let us know on Twitter at @RDCSports!