The 2016-2017 NBA season was a difficult one for the Los Angeles Lakers, who experienced growing pains en route to a 26-56 record, though they did finish the season on a 5-1 run. Rookie Brandon Ingram also had his ups and downs but showed flashes of brilliance after the All-Star break that gave Lakers fans a lot to be hopeful for.
Ingram had embarked on his inaugural season with the goal of winning Rookie of the Year, but it eventually became clear that wasn’t going to happen. The rail-thin 19-year-old needed time to acclimate to the professional game, and he struggled with his outside shooting, which was thought to be one of his strengths prior to the season.
However, Ingram quickly shifted his focus after coming to grips with not being in the Rookie of the Year race, according to Lakers.com:
However, he has the larger picture in mind, as shown when he recognized that he would not reach his goal of becoming Rookie of the Year.
“I was looking beyond that,” Ingram said. “I was looking at the future of Lakers basketball and how I could be a part of that.”
While it was a bit of a disappointment that Ingram wasn’t able to get himself into the ROY discussion, especially in a down year like this one, his ability to pivot and look ahead to the future is commendable. He understands his importance to the franchise and teammates raved about his improvement attacking the basket after the All-Star break:
“He was just aggressive and didn’t shy away from contact,” Julius Randle said. “B.I. is a buck 20, but he is going up and dunking on people. It just shows you the potential that he has. He’s going to be great player here for a long time.”
It wasn’t quite the breakout season for Ingram that Lakers fans were hoping for, but on a young team filled with upside, he still stands out as a player with the potential to become an All-Star.