Years down the road, when Brandon Ingram is asked if he remembers his first NBA bucket, he’ll talk about sinking a corner three as the shot clock wound down in the Los Angeles Lakers season opener against the Houston Rockets. He’ll also have an alley-oop pass from Lou Williams to look back on as his first dunk in an NBA game.
But, when he’s asked about what he remembers most from his rookie debut, it won’t have anything to do with what he did on the court.
“I think for me, the intensity on the sidelines at the end of the game,” Ingram told LakersNation.com about what he would remember most from his NBA debut. “When Jordan Clarkson started making buckets, D’Angelo (Russell) and Julius (Randle) started making buckets, I don’t think I ever got so hyped for my teammates on the sidelines. I think I’ll always remember that moment.”
It was D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young, Julius Randle, and Luol Deng to close the game for the Lakers in their exciting victory over the Houston Rockets. Clarkson came out absolutely firing in the second half, scoring 23 of his 25 points. Russell finished close behind with 20 points and Randle had 18 points to go along with seven boards and six assists.
Ingram himself looked as comfortable as a 19-year-old rookie could look in his first game, finishing with nine points and three boards in 24 minutes, but to hear Ingram talk about cheering his teammates on the sidelines, as the most memorable part of his NBA debut is no doubt refreshing. When asked about his individual play, he said he “felt good” about it, but then drove the conversation immediately back to the team.
“I saw different ways we can score the ball,” Ingram said in response to a question about him individually. “We have a lot of talented guys that can score the ball in the lane and also shoot the ball…”
Sounds like Ingram has no problem adopting the messages that Walton has been teaching all training camp, being selfless and playing for each other.
“Everything we’re trying to preach is that its not about individuals it’s about us as a team,” Walton said after the season opener.
“There’s a few teams in the league that play selfless,” Russell said, reiterating Walton’s message. “And, it doesn’t matter who’s night it could be or what’s going on, guys still seem to play for their teammates, I feel like the better we can do, including myself, of playing for each other, the easier it will be for us.”
The Lakers have a challenge ahead, as they embark on a four-game road trip. It will be the first test of the whether Walton can get his message to stick, even on a long road trip with tough opponents the first week of the season.