Lakers Breakdown: Brandon Ingram’s Bounce Back Shouldn’t Go Under The Radar Because...

Lakers Breakdown: Brandon Ingram’s Bounce Back Shouldn’t Go Under The Radar Because Of Lonzo Ball

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

All anyone was talking about after the Los Angeles Lakers’ first win of the season Friday night was the stellar bounce back game of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.

The plaudits for Ball were deserved after he responded to an underwhelming first effort by becoming the first Lakers rookie ever to drop 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists in a game, but they also shouldn’t completely overshadow what was also one of the best games of Brandon Ingram’s young career.

Ingram has alternated between flying under the radar and disappointing since his one transcendent game at Las Vegas Summer League, either not playing well enough to warrant attention or playing badly enough to leave social media declaring his career over.

The sophomore forward proved the latter scenario is definitely not the case by scoring a career-high 25 points against in the Lakers’ victory over the Suns, and while Phoenix’s defense will likely be among the league’s worst this season, the way Ingram scored offered plenty of hope he could eventually have these types of nights more regularly.

He certainly seems confident that will be the case, at least (via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters):

Redeem himself Ingram did, and while his shot selection wasn’t flawless (what second-year player’s is?), the majority of moves and shots Ingram utilized to set his new career high were completely replicable.

There is no reason Ingram can’t do stuff like the team’s Twitter account showed off here in transition all season (well, maybe not all of his finishes will be quite this soul-devouring, but he can get baskets on the break this way):

The last shot in the following highlight video — in which the Suns’ defense evidently just glitched and walked away from Ingram like a defective game of NBA 2K — might not be totally repeatable against actual NBA teams.

However, the rest of Ingram’s moves, from the euro step and confident finish around length with his right hand to the way he gave spaced out and gave Alex Caruso a perfect angle to find him for a three were things Ingram can and should be looking to do all season (via the team’s Twitter account):

Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton agrees (via Bob Garcia of Sports Out West):

“Most” is the operative word there regarding Ingram’s shot selection. He is still a little too trigger happy on his mid-range jumpers sometimes, something that was revealed as he clanked one of his final attempts of the game in the fourth quarter, as well as being shown in his shot chart against the Suns (via NBA.com):

(Courtesy of NBA.com)

That noted, Ingram shouldn’t be expected to be perfect yet. He shouldn’t even be expected to be close. He shouldn’t be held to any arbitrary points per game totals just because of off-the-cuff comments by Magic Johnson or anyone else that were probably just intended to show faith in the young forward.

Ingram is a raw-but-promising wing in his second year in the league, and all he should be expected to show is progress. On Friday night he did, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed just because Lonzo Ball happened to be better, because if the Lakers are going to move forward in their grand rebuild, they’ll need both of their young cornerstones to pop.