When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in 2016 they hoped that someday he would become a superstar-level talent. With a versatile game and endless arms, Ingram projected to be the kind of jack-of-all-trades that are a necessity for success in the modern NBA.
After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Ingram spent much of the 2017-18 season showing flashes of the potential the Lakers hoped they could unearth when they made him their pick. It takes stars to win in the NBA, and Ingram has confidence that he can hit that level.
“I think I have the confidence to do that,” he said of becoming the caliber of a superstar player. “I live in the moment for the player I am now, but I always look down the line to see how much better I can be.”
A decade ago, the NBA was all about specilization. Teams needed bigs who could dominate inside, guards who could create off the dribble, and wings who could either put the ball in the basket or act as a defensive stopper. Now, as the game is evolving, finding players who can do everything has become a priority.
Ingram understands the way the wind is blowing and is actively looking to develop his all-around game. “(I want to be) a two-way player, a guy that can do everything on the basketball floor. Whether it’s on the defensive end, getting deflections, getting steals, blocking shots, rebounding the basketball,” he said.
“On the offensive end, it’s shooting beyond the three, having an in-between a game, get to the basket, a guy that lives on the free throw line. Just different ways to manipulate the game.”
Of course, Ingram has a long way to go before he reaches his peak. He was one of the youngest players selected in the 2016 Draft, which means his age was more on par with rookies this season. He won’t turn 21 until September, a factor that’s important to remember Ingram has plenty of time to develop into the player he hopes to become.
The biggest hurdle to getting there? Consistency. Just as many young players do, Ingram admitted that he needs to find ways to have a similar impact every night of the season rather than a roller coaster of highs and lows.
“Being the same guy night in and night out,” he said. “Knowing what move I’m going to go to. On the defensive end, how I can cause havoc. Just having the effort and energy every single night.”
As for whether the Lakers make a move to sign the type of player Ingram hopes to one day become, the young forward doesn’t have any concern over his ability to adjust and play with the likes of a LeBron James or Paul George.
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