The Los Angeles Lakers drafted forward Brandon Ingram out of Duke with the second overall pick this past draft. Despite the 6’9 forward’s length, his is just 19-years-old so it is not surprising that he struggled a bit in his first few preseason games.
Ingram has a unique skill set however, and Lakers head coach Luke Walton recognized that and decided to do something a little different with Ingram against the Golden State Warriors in the team’s seventh preseason game.
Walton put Ingram at the point guard position, giving him the responsibilities of bringing the ball up and running the offense. The results of the experiment were that Ingram had his best game of the preseason, scoring 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes.
Ingram has continued to run the point since then, and he had another strong showing in the team’s season opener Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets. Walton said that he plans to continue to utilize Ingram in that role as it helps him stay engaged, via Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
“It helps engage him in the game. He’s a great basketball player and has a great feel for the game,” Walton said. “When you’re handling the ball, even when you’re not shooting, just making passes. It’s a great way to force you into the game.”
Walton also said that Ingram, being a rookie, has a lot to learn but playing point guard is the best way to do that:
“You have to be able to direct people on what the game plan is,” Walton said. “He doesn’t have that yet at this level. But when he’s running the point for us, he’s a much better player on both ends of the court.”
Much credit has to go to Walton for finding an unexpected to way to increase Ingram’s involvement in the offense. Getting the most out of Ingram will help the Lakers now and in the future as his development will be key for this franchise.
In 24 minutes off the bench Wednesday Ingram had nine points and three rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting. He looked a lot less nervous and more comfortable on the floor than he did in the preseason, which bodes well for him moving forward.