Los Angeles Lakers small forward Brandon Ingram is ready to put in the work and take the next step to becoming an elite player.
The Los Angeles Lakers have high hopes for small forward, Brandon Ingram. They like Ingram so much they were refusing to even discuss him in any trades during the offseason when they were in the Paul George sweepstakes. Ingram made the front office look better in his second season.
Ingram took some big steps forward in his second season in the NBA from his first season. After struggling throughout a majority of his rookie season, Ingram looked much more confident in himself during his sophomore campaign.
Ingram put the work in during the offseason to improve during the regular season. Ingram improved his statistics across the board, as the added strength improved his efficiency and performance.
Ingram improved to 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Those are an impressive jump from his rookie season numbers of 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per game.
His shooting numbers also all improved, as Ingram shot .470/.390/.681 in Year 2 compared to .402/.294/.621 in Year 1.The biggest difference was in games played, as Ingram played 79 games as a rookie and only 59 games in his second season.
If the Lakers are going to take that next step as a team, Ingram will be a driving force behind that. It is something that he is ready to take on.
“I think I have the confidence to do that,” he said.
“I live in the moment for the player I am now, but I always look down the line to see how much better I can be.”
And what is it that Ingram sees when he looks down the line? “A two-way player, a guy that can do everything on the basketball floor,” he said.
“Whether it’s on the defensive end, getting deflections, getting steals, blocking shots, rebounding the basketball. On the offensive end, it’s shooting beyond the three, having an in-between a game, get to the basket, a guy that lives on the free throw line. Just different ways to manipulate the game.”
Ingram has shown that is willing to put in the work. He did it after his rookie season, coming back looking like a different player in some aspects, such as his confidence level. If Ingram makes another jump similar to the one he made last offseason, the Lakers could have an All-Star on their hands.
The organization is behind Ingram. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka refusing to make him a part of trade packages showed they are confident in him. Head coach Luke Walton also has confidence in Ingram, saying he believes that the former Duke product can become great.
Ingram is one part of the Lakers young core. Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and potentially Julius Randle all bring something to the table. However, Ingram has arguably the highest ceiling of all of those players.
If Ingram reaches that ceiling, it will help take pressure off the other youngsters on the team and help elevate the Lakers back to being playoff contenders.