An offseason spent focusing on every aspect of his game came to light on Thursday as Brandon Ingram started at point guard and led the Los Angeles Lakers with 31 points in their 128-123 victory over the Sacramento Kings. The win was the Lakers’ first of the preseason.
After LeBron James shouldered the load in the first half, Ingram carried the Lakers late in the game. James praised his young teammate not only for the performance, but also commitment to improving.
“It does, but also it makes you want to keep going,” answered Ingram when asked if James’ compliments serve as motivation. “Like I said, my expectations are way higher than anyone’s expectations (for Ingram).”
While he enjoyed a big night, adding in nine rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and three steals, Lakers head coach Luke Walton called on Ingram to become more consistent.
“He was good when he was closing the game, but we need him to be engaged defensively like that the whole time,” Walton said. “I thought at the end he got three deflections in a row using his length. I mean, he can do that all the time. Being disruptive like that.”
Ingram acknowledged he still has room to grow in order to provide that effort throughout the course of a game. He nonetheless continues to show signs of another jump forward in development, which Walton recognizes.
“It’s still not very loud but you can feel it grow in the sense of his confidence,” he said of Ingram’s voice and presence. “Him calling certain plays, him feeling more ownership in what we’re as a team. We still like him to speak louder, but we can feel it in other areas.”
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