Over the last couple of years, the Los Angeles Lakers have begun stocking their roster with a number of young, talented players. D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and others have shown flashes of potential, but arguably none have shown more than last year’s second overall pick, Brandon Ingram.
Even though he had an up-and-down rookie season, Ingram really turned it on down the stretch of the season. He scored in double figures in 18 of his 21 games played after the All-Star break, raised his scoring from 8.0 PPG before the break to 13.2 after, and raised his shooting percentage from 36.3 to 47.5.
Coming into this offseason, there have been a lot of questions about the potential moves the Lakers may make. President of basketball operations Magic Johnson appeared on Sirius XM NBA Radio ahead of the NBA Draft Lottery and seemed to indicate that Ingram is someone the Lakers plan to build around:
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) May 16, 2017
Obviously, a lot of things can change over time, and tonight’s draft lottery will certainly play a role in that, but it is interesting to see Magic come out and back Ingram as essentially a franchise player.
The Lakers have been mentioned in a number of rumors, particularly in regards to Indiana’s Paul George. In trying to acquire George, the Lakers would have to give up a lot, and it is likely that the Pacers would ask for Ingram in addition to other pieces. Whether Magic’s words here indicate that he wouldn’t part with Ingram in such a deal remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, it seems as if Magic and the Lakers front office sees Ingram as a key piece moving forward as they try to bring the Lakers back to the top of the league.