The Los Angeles Lakers believe they have a star in the making in rookie Brandon Ingram. The versatile forward out of Duke may not be putting up All-Star-caliber numbers nor is he striking fear into the hearts of opponents on a nightly basis, but he’s shown flashes of potential as he adjusts to the NBA game.
One of the biggest concerns for the Lakers with Ingram is whether he can withstand the physicality played on the NBA level through an 82-game season. In Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Ingram showed a little fire when things began to get physical between him and fellow Duke product, Austin Rivers.
Instead of backing down or being bullied physically by Rivers, Ingram kicked it into another gear against the Clippers. The rookie forward talked about liking the physicality of the game despite his skinny frame after the win, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
“It was good for me,” Ingram said. “I’m a skinny guy. But I like physicality. It’s good to see what this game is like and just try to make the best of it.”
Although Ingram is coming on slowly for the Lakers, Luke Walton and company are happy with his progress and believe he has a bright future ahead. Ingram has become more and more involved as the season has progressed with a bigger role and ball-handling duties on a seemingly nightly basis.
In 34 games this season, Ingram is averaging 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. The 19-year-old has struggled from the field in his rookie campaign shooting 34.8 percent from the floor and 25.3 from beyond the arc.
Despite Ingram’s shooting struggles, the rookie appears to be on the right track in development. Becoming comfortable with the physicality at this level and showing he can be one of the most versatile players on the roster are steps in the right direction.