The Los Angeles Lakers used their second pick in the 2016 draft on Brandon Ingram, after a slow start the 6’9” swingman is beginning to find his spot on this young squad. Adjusting to the NBA is a challenge for any rookie, especially the one and done players, time and patience is required. The Lakers have been patient, staying with Ingram even while he was going through a shooting slump early on and it is beginning to pay off now.
Ingram has started slowly, he went from averaging 17.3 points a game at Duke to 8.4 points in the NBA with a dip in his shooting from three going from 41% to 30.6%. However once the calendar has turned from 2016 to 2017 Ingram has started to come on strong. In the 11 games in January so far he has shot 43.8% from three and is averaging 11.5 points a night. The improvement is due to a lot of extra shooting sessions in the Laker practice facility showing his work ethic and desire to improve. In a Los Angeles Daily News piece by Mark Medina, Ingram said “You’re not working for right now; you’re working for the future.” Ingram clearly has an understanding of what it is going to take to improve.
Ingram’s toolbox is full of a lot of moves. In the plays below, he used his length to play the passing lane for a steal and dunk, then posted up a smaller defender to score right over him, and finally drilled a three after a jab step to clear space.
Ingram is also becoming a more aggressive driver. He’s beginning to find the driving lanes and with his length he should be able to finish with his 7’3” wingspan. Like when he took Mo Harkless off the dribble against Portland and spun into a layup.
Ingram’s scoring ability is his main weapon but he is able to find his teammates. Against the Indiana Pacers he used his length again to force a turnover and hit a streaking Jose Calderon in stride for a transition layup. Then off a pick-and-roll when the defense doubled him he wrapped a pass around the big defender and found Tarik Black for a dunk.
Ingram at age 19 still has a lot of growing to do. He weighs 190 pounds and desperately needs to put on more muscle. The play below shows when Danilo Gallinari drove to the hoop for a dunk and Ingram was not able to bump him off his line. It’s a difference of 35 pounds, and this is an area that will improve over time in the weight room and as he grows as an adult.
If the Lakers remain patient with Ingram, they could have a potential Laker legend as he grows and develops. Over time he’ll grow into his body, his shooting is beginning to improve as he’s putting extra work to overcome his shooting slump. As his confidence continues to grow so has his aggressiveness. He’s becoming more aggressive and picking spots. Ingram has the talent to be great, and his work ethic is beginning to pay off for him and the Lakers.
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- All-Star Starter Snub -The All-Star starters have been announced and the most amazing name left off the list is Russell Westbrook who finished third in the fan vote despite averaging a triple-double. It is shocking but I think it’s important to remember that this game is for the fans so if they felt like they want to see Steph Curry and James Harden start so be it. Westbrook will be at the game as a reserve and will get his credit.
- The Passing Brilliance of LeBron James – LeBron James is by far one of the best basketball players to have ever played. He is often taken for granted because we are so used to it. One thing that is absolutely amazing is his passing ability. At least once if not more in a game, James whips a pass to an open player that no other player let alone a human being can make. His passing brilliance needs to be embraced, be sure to watch for it, next time you tune into a Cavs game.
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- Photo Credit – GARY A. VASQUEZ-USA TODAY SPORTS