Joining the Los Angeles Lakers comes with a ton of added pressure that doesn’t exist with other franchises and that is even truer when one is a top pick as was the case with Brandon Ingram, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
The Lakers have a level of attention — both from the media and fans — that other teams just don’t receive and it can be difficult to deal with for many young players.
Just as dangerous is the Los Angeles nightlife as celebrities are everywhere and there are a litany of distractions to derail someone.
However, Ingram was never someone who was seen in the tabloids or media outlets and he spoke with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated saying that while the team as a whole got caught up, it was never too much for him:
People get caught up about thinking outside of basketball and what comes with it. L.A. wasn’t too fast for me. But we, the team, got caught up with all the extras that come with outside of basketball.
Ingram would seem to be referring to the constant trade rumors surrounding the entire team, especially during the 2018-19 NBA season. However, he credits the people around him, particularly then-Lakers assistant coach Brian Keefe with keeping his head where it needed to be:
I actually didn’t, and I don’t know how I didn’t. I had good people around me. I had a coach, [former Lakers assistant coach] Brian Keefe, who stayed on me all the time. I had a weight room trainer who stayed on me all the time. I just had good people around me. They would tell me to keep going. No matter what is going on, keep going.
There was a lot of talk about the team’s young players caving in under the pressure of the Anthony Davis trade talks last season. While some have said the rumors did affect the team overall, Ingram actually shined during his final stretch of the season.
Ingram averaged 27.8 points and 7.5 rebounds on 57 percent shooting in six games after the All-Star break before his season was ended after a blood clot was found in his shoulder. He truly seemed to be turning the corner and that is certainly looking to be the case through the early part of this season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
One thing that was always praised about Ingram was his work ethic. He always put his head down and put in the work and that is paying off now.
The Los Angeles life never overwhelmed him and now in New Orleans, all that work is paying off.