After a 0-2 start, the Los Angeles Lakers rebounded by winning out and capturing the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League championship. Their stay at Las Vegas turned into a complete success outside of Brandon Ingram’s injury scare, as Lonzo Ball was named Summer League MVP and Kyle Kuzma earned the Summer League Finals MVP.
The Lakers fan base showed up by the thousands to Las Vegas, cheering on the Lakers although Ball and Ingram faced some injury concerns. Both the front office and fan base are excited to see the development of the young talent, getting a glimpse of the future at the end of the 2016-17 season.
The franchise saw Ingram develop from a rookie just learning the ropes to a steady contributor, hungry to improve his overall game. Part of that maturing process is interacting with your teammates, in order to develop into a leader that can build the team chemistry. With a year under his belt, the 19-year-old has become more vocal with his teammates, via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News:
“He was definitely pretty vocal and giving out help with his leadership,” Lakers rookie forward Kyle Kuzma said. “If he saw something, he definitely would speak his mind.”
Ingram did that even when the Lakers shut him down for the remainder of summer league. He trained with the team, sat on the bench and became what Kuzma called “a cheerleader.”
Magic Johnson’s affirmative decision to stop Ingram from playing in the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League was precautionary, but also the right move when it comes to his health. Ingram could have returned home or to Los Angeles to recover and continue his spend some time alone, but elected to remain in Las Vegas and encourage his teammates.
The Duke alumnus was present at the remaining of the Lakers game during the Summer League, offering tidbits of advice and cheering on his teammates from the bench. It is that quality that demonstrates why the Lakers are so high on the 2016 No. 2 overall pick, declaring he was untouchable well before the offseason.
Ingram has put together an impressive offseason, putting on some muscle in the weight room, improving his shooting mechanics and constantly working with the training staff. The Lakers have quite some time before training camp and the preseason, but the optimism around the franchise is finally turning in the right direction.