Brandon Ingram has a lot of pressure on him to become a star for the Los Angeles Lakers. A solid end to his rookie season, coupled with a strong performance in Summer League raised expectations. Magic Johnson’s decree that Ingram should average 20 points this season didn’t help matter either.
As such, Brandon Ingram’s preseason didn’t go as planned, as he has admitted himself. Ingram struggled offensively as he continually forced shots, looking to make good on the expectations placed on him. However, he ended the preseason on a high note, with 15 points and five assists in a victory over the Clippers.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton spoke about the pressure on Ingram, noting that Ingram is still just 20 years old, and most players don’t jump to superstardom at this point in their careers via Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com:
“For all players the stress and pressure is going to add up and sometimes get in the way,” Walton said at Saturday’s practice. “For Brandon I think there’s a lot of expectation on him, and a lot of people forget he’s 20 years old going into his second year in the NBA.
When you look back in history, not many people all of a sudden bloom into all-stars in their second year. I try to remind him that it’s a long career he’s going to have. Just keep working the way he does and focus on the fundamentals and the details of the game.”
It can be easy for players, especially young players, to struggle with the pressure and expectations placed upon them. For Ingram those expectations were incredibly high, perhaps even too much so, but he was determined to meet them regardless which led to his struggles.
Ingram has done a better job of letting the game come to him in the last two preseason games and has looked better because of it. If he keeps that mindset moving forward, he is even more likely to reach the expectations that everyone has for him.