With training camp about a week away, the Los Angeles Lakers can begin preparing as a whole for the 2016-17 NBA season. While the Lakers are currently in a transition stage, the pieces gathered for the future have Lakers fans excited.
Now that Kobe Bryant rode off into retirement in Hollywood fashion, the new era of stars can begin to take the reigns. With head coach Luke Walton now leading the pack, players such as D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson can evolve their game to the next level.
However, there are also some other interesting notes to check out as training camp gets underway. Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, enters his rookie season attempting to make a name for himself.
In a recent interview, Walton announced that Ingram would not immediately start this season. Throughout NBA history, No. 2 overall picks usually have the reassurance they’ll start, given their path usually ends up towards a lower-tier franchise.
The Lakers already have the pieces set in place for the future, with Russell and Clarkson at the top. Offseason acquisitions Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng add a veteran presence to the roster, while also filling the presumed starting lineup in the currently evolving game.
While Ingram will have to prove his worth just like any other NBA player, the comments from Walton just adds fuel to his fire as he told Colin Cowherd on The Herd, via Serena Winters of LakersNation:
Brandon Ingram on Luke Walton saying he probably won’t start him right away: “Hearing that gives me motivation to work hard.”
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) September 19, 2016
To be fair to Walton, the 26th head coach in Lakers franchise history offered some positive comments about the development of Ingram.
The pressure of being a rookie is hard to live up to, with many basketball aficionados claiming what your talent should be. Experts such as Fran Fraschilla have evaluated the top pick, offering their best assessment of what Ingram could develop into.
In fact, the pressure can add up quickly. Just ask the 2015 No. 2 overall pick and the expectations placed on him.
Russell attempted to guide Ingram in the right direction, stating the North Carolina native should embrace the pressure.
The 19-year-old dominated in his lone season at Duke University, averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals and two assists per game.