The Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a difficult rebuild, but the last few years of high draft picks have stocked their cupboard with some intriguing young talent. They have point guard Lonzo Ball, who had Las Vegas buzzing during Summer League, but it very well may be lanky forward Brandon Ingram who takes the largest leap next season.
Ingram, who was selected with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, struggled a bit during his rookie season but was moved into the starting lineup partway through and really began to improve down the home stretch. Despite his slender frame, Ingram has developed a reputation as a hard worker, and President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson recently raved about his work ethic, via Mark Medina of the Southern California News Group:
“The guy only cares about winning and basketball,” Johnson said. “He’s quiet and doesn’t do anything else. He is a very intelligent young man and is our hardest worker.”
Ingram only played in one game at the Las Vegas Summer League before a calf cramp relegated him to the sidelines, but that lone performance showcased much of the work ethic that Johnson gushed about. Compared to Ingram’s performance at Summer League last year as a rookie, he barely looked like the same player, showcasing dominance on both ends of the floor.
Physically, Ingram’s 7’3″ wingspan makes him an ideal front court player and his versatile skill set allows him to help the Lakers in a number of ways. Not only do his long arms allow him to step into passing lanes and block shots, but they also allow him to shoot over defenders, something he showcased in Summer League. If his three-point shooting improves at the same rate as his other skills, then Ingram will be a serious weapon for the Lakers next season.