The Los Angeles Lakers came back from the NBA Summer League having fulfilled their mission to go to Las Vegas and win it all. Although the team was able to win the championship, they did it without arguably their best player in Brandon Ingram.
The Duke product went down with a cramp in his leg in the first game the team played in Las Vegas and was promptly ruled out for the rest of Summer League as a result. Despite being ruled out and having the ability to go back to Los Angeles, Ingram chose to stay regardless and support his teammates.
Apparently, Ingram’s choice to stay and show his support made an impression on Magic Johnson. During the introductory press conference for free agent signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Johnson made a point of it to praise Ingram for staying in Las Vegas, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Magic Johnson on Brandon Ingram: “Showed me the type of leader that he is and that he’s going to become." https://t.co/G3fOd9jAwD
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) July 18, 2017
On more than one occasion, Johnson has dubbed Ingram the future face of the Lakers franchise in the post-Kobe Bryant era. Magic also had a similar statement for rookie Lonzo Ball but seems to be leaning toward Ingram being the player the team will build around moving forward.
Regardless of whether Ingram or Ball is the new star attraction for this team, the Lakers appear to have a bright future ahead with these talented young players leading the way. Along with two potential stars in the making, Los Angeles may see Kyle Kuzma emerge as an important player for this team as the kind of versatile forward that flourishes in today’s NBA as well as promising rookies Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant.