Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram is beginning to break through during his sophomore season and shake off the memories of a rough rookie campaign. Ingram leads the team in scoring at 16.2 points per game, and he showed off impressive potential as a closer in a win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Lakers haven’t had the type of player that can take over late in games out by going and getting big buckets for himself since Kobe Bryant. While Ingram isn’t on his level as a closer or anywhere close yet, Bryant has taken notice of his recent progress.
During a sitdown with Chris McGee on the latest episode of “Connected With…,” Bryant explained what he believes is the next step for Ingram in order to fully take hold of that role, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“For Brandon, he had a big game against Durant and Golden State, we expect him to do that. He has the capability to do that. It’s a big game, you expect him to show up and you expect him to perform. His next level of growth is games where it’s Denver, you get in at 2 o’clock in the morning, maybe it’s not a sold-out arena, and you still perform. So that’s the consistency of the energy.”
Bringing that type of energy on a consistent basis isn’t easy, but Bryant also outlined how he developed the mindset that allowed him to do so:
“It was easy for me from the standpoint of, I looked at it if I’m competing against Clyde Drexler tonight, I’m ready to go. And then the next night I’m competing against somebody I know I should be much, much better than, I looked at it as an opportunity to just obliterate them. I found enjoyment in that. It wasn’t like I was going tit for tat. You go tit for tat with the great players. With the ones you should be dominating, you obliterate them.”
The always soft-spoken Ingram saying he’s going to ‘obliterate’ players, even to himself, seems a bit farfetched. But Bryant is right that thinking like that might be the best way for Ingram to get to the next level.
The way Ingram has started to seemingly effortlessly get to the rim and finish over big men with relative ease might be the first sign of that mindset. And if Bryant is to be believed, as Ingram gets older, those displays might start to happen even more consistently.
In discussing Ingram’s recent stretch of proving to be a go-to player, Lakers head coach Luke Walton said a key for the young forward was consistently bringing an effort and mindset to lead the team in all facets of the game.
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