Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram’s main focus this past offseason was adding strength, as the 20-year-old still has a long way to go to add to his long but skinny frame.
Ingram came into training camp noticeably bigger, in addition to improving his jump shot and other aspects of his game.
The Lakers made their preseason debut on Saturday night, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 108-99, but Lakers fans got their first look at the new and improved Ingram.
Although he struggled with his shot, Ingram looked to be much improved on the defensive end and at Monday’s shootaround he attributed that to the strength he added this summer. “I feel much stronger, especially guarding other guys,” Ingram said. “I think I did a good job on post-ups in the last preseason game, just trying to guard my guy and stay in front of him. I felt pretty strong last year, but I’ve gotten stronger.”
Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently said that he believes Ingram can become a great defender in this league. Ingram also feels that can be the case, but in addition to adding strength, he believes he needs to work on using his feet better to stay in front of the guy he is guarding.
“I think where I made my biggest stride is trying to stay in front. Trying to stay in front of a smaller guard, trying to stay in front of my man and use my feet more instead of my length more. I think as the season goes on, I’ll get better at using my feet.”
Having the ability to switch onto both smaller and bigger players will be a key for Ingram becoming a great defender. It looks like he is on his way to being able to do that as the strength will help him guard bigger players, and quick feet will help him with the smaller ones.