There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers franchise with the 2016-27 NBA season right around the corner. The expectations might not be as high as during the peak of the Kobe Bryant era, but there’s a lot of promising young talent on this squad playing alongside proven veterans like Luol Deng.
During the fourth day of Lakers training camp in Santa Barbara, NBA TV provided an inside look at the way new head coach Luke Walton has been running drills. Along with an inside peak at Lakers practice, Rick Fox and Jared Greenberg conducted a few interviews on the sidelines.
Deng sat down with Greenberg and Fox to talk about a number of different topics, including his assessment of rookie Brandon Ingram. The veteran journeyman believes the fellow Duke alum will have a bright future via NBATV:
“For a 19-year-old, take basketball aside, he’s very humble. Very mature. The kid loves the game. I already see him at the gym at night, before training camp started, working and everything. He’s going to be a great player in this league for many years to come.”
Deng also talked about setting an example for the young players in Los Angeles like Ingram. The 31-year-old is embracing the mentor role with the Lakers and is excited about Ingram and company being hungry and focused for the upcoming season:
“Here in L.A., every day I’m an example. You know, how I approach practice every day. What I do after practice trying to recover. Being early, getting shots up. Just setting a path for these young guys. The exciting thing about it is they’re all so willing; they’re all so focused on the season. Everybody on the team wants to do well. It makes my job a lot easier. I’m so excited that I’ve got a group of young guys watching what I am doing.”
Unless Ingram proves to be the best player on the court as Walton said recently, Deng will be the team’s starting small forward once the regular season starts on Oct. 26.
Obviously, a lot can happen between now and the season opener, but Deng, currently the highest-paid player on the team, is expected to be a starter with the rookie coming off the bench.