The Los Angeles Lakers have a roster stocked with young talent, but that doesn’t always equate to a successful rebuild. Youth alone won’t be enough; they need players in the fold who can help facilitate the winning culture that head coach Luke Walton is trying to create. While it’s not an easy task, Magic Johnson believes that Brandon Ingram is someone who can help in that regard.
Ingram is soft-spoken, but Johnson sees leadership qualities in him that he didn’t see in the recently exiled D’Angelo Russell. As the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram struggled at times last season, but Johnson is impressed by his talent and improvement. He spoke to Spectrum SportsNet about why he’s so enamored with the lanky forward:
“Then you take into account, Brandon Ingram. He’s gotten better and better. He’s really like the guy we’re going to look to, to lead us offensively and defensively. He’s a talent that you don’t find too many times. He’s long. He’s athletic. He can do a lot of different things. He can play point guard, and so when you think about a face of an organization along with all the other faces he’s the one that really stands out.”
Ingram certainly turned heads towards the end of last season. It took some time to adjust to the NBA game, but he spent the final few weeks proving that he had made major strides, including attacking the rim for a few thunderous dunks.
The hope is that as Ingam becomes more comfortable in the NBA, his incredible 7’3″ wingspan will allow him to be a major factor on both ends of the floor. Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka has been adament about finding athletes that can play positionless basketball, and Ingram certainly fits that mold thanks to his versatility.