The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t sure if they would even have a selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, with their pick bound for Philadelphia unless it landed in the top three. As luck would have it, the Lakers wound up drawing the second overall selection in the lottery, which they used on Duke forward Brandon Ingram.
Ingram hasn’t quite had the breakout rookie campaign that fans hoped for, but he has shown enough flashes of brilliance to sustain hope that the rail-thin 19-year-old will eventually help lead the Lakers back to the top of the NBA totem pole.
In a recent piece by Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, an anonymous NBA scout provided plenty of optimism:
Ingram is loaded with talent and sometimes displays so much versatility that he doesn’t know on which area of his game he should focus.
But, the scout said, “He is probably going to be the best of the three. When you look at his physical assets and what he is capable of just from a raw potential perspective, the sky is the limit. He has to be developed; that’s obvious. He looks to me like he is learning to assert himself more out on the floor. He’s got to figure out where he fits between Randle and Russell. But they’re so young, there will be plenty of time to make that smoother.
The scout’s assertion that Ingram is a better prospect than D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle is somewhat surprising given their level of play this season, but scouts have a keen eye for what the finished product will look like. Ingram does indeed have interesting tools to work with, including his ridiculous 7’3″ wingspan.
It won’t happen overnight, and there will be plenty of growing pains, but Lakers fans should enjoy watching a young player with Ingram’s talent grow over the next few years.