After two losses to begin the 2018-19 NBA preseason, Brandon Ingram showcased his two-way potential as the Los Angeles Lakers earned their first win against the Sacramento Kings.
While LeBron James only played in the first half, Ingram made key plays on both ends of the court and finished with a game-high 31 points and nine rebounds. Although it is not the regular season or playoffs, it was an opportunity to see Ingram’s development heading into his third season.
James, who thinks extremely highly of the team’s young core, had the ultimate praise for Ingram. “I thought he was great. I think he was great all game,” James said.
“His pace, his ability to play the point, play the wing, he’s a very special talent. Definitely happy to have him on our side. I know what I see in him, and he’s looking for his opportunity to make the next jump in his third year.
“There’s a lot of upside in that kid. I’m happy to try and give him as much as I can. He’s a great kid, he works extremely hard, has a lot of talent and believes in his ability. He’s on course. He’s 21 years old, third year in the league. He’s on course.”
Originally the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram has made great strides in his first two seasons. For lottery picks like Ingram who only played one year of college, their third or fourth seasons in the NBA usually dictate if they can truly reach their All-Star potential.
For Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, they have shown their patience and trust in Ingram’s potential. As the 21-year-old has been mentioned in trade discussions for DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, he wants to be consistent and establish himself as an All-Star player himself.