The Los Angeles Lakers endured a franchise-worst 17-win outing last season, struggling to find wins in the midst of Kobe Bryant”s retirement tour. All the losses did come with a silver lining, as the Lakers were able to retan their top-three protected draft pick, which they used to select Duke’s Brandon Ingram.
At just 18-years-old, Ingram offers tons of upside. His 7’3″ wingspan and shooting ability has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant, and while those expectations are almost certainly too lofty, they are a perfect indicator of the way Ingram glides along the basketball court.
It’s that length and fluidity that will make him tough to stop, as one Eastern Conference scout noted after observing Ingram at the Las Vegas Summer League (via Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times):
“I saw a good-looking prospect. There were some games where he excelled, and there were some games where he struggled. But overall … he’s a matchup nightmare.”
Ingram averaged 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds through five Summer League games, and while he wasn’t dominant he did show flashes of brilliance. He may be a bit slender at just 195 pounds, but Ingram checks so many other boxes that it’s hard to imagine him not succeeding, as the scout noted:
“You see a guy that can create his own shot. He has unrivaled length [for his position] with great ball skills. That’s a hard combination to find. I think the sky is the limit for him.”
For the Lakers, who are mired in a lengthy rebuild, Ingram’s talent and character appears to be a perfect fit. It will take time, but ideally the team will improve and grow along with Ingram and fellow youngsters D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, and Julius Randle. More patience is required, but the future looks bright in Los Angeles.