For the second straight year the Los Angeles Lakers had the second overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2016, and after selecting point guard D’Angelo Russell with that pick in 2015 they decided to go with a forward in Brandon Ingram out of Duke.
When Ingram was drafted both he and the organization knew that he was a work in progress, as there were a lot of aspects to his game that needed work.
Ingram is almost at the end of his rookie season now, and he has already made tremendous strides in every aspect of his game. Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently went on the Bill Simmons Podcast with Bill Simmons, and he discussed how good Ingram can be in the future:
“The only way to answer that is to know what kind of shooter he becomes. His floor is gonna be really good. Even if he never turns into a great shooter, he’s gonna be a really good NBA player because he cares, he’s long, he has a great feel. He’s starting already. He weighs 180 pounds and he’s already starting to finish with dunks in the lane as he beats people. So his floor is already gonna be high.”
It is no secret that Ingram has struggled with his shot this season, as he is shooting just 37.1 percent overall from the field and 29.5 percent from three-point range.
Weight is also a concern for the 19-year-old, but Walton is more concerned with him working on his shot, which he said he has been doing:
“He’s gonna put on weight, he’s gonna get strong enough, he’s gonna be able to finish in the lane, he’s gonna be able to hit his free throws, all those things I’m 100 percent confident about. How high his ceiling gets, in my opinion, is gonna be determined by how well of a shooter he becomes. And he’s in here working. He works on it. So I would like to believe that he’ll become a pretty consistent shooter.”
Ingram is averaging 8.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in his first NBA season. His shot has improved in recent weeks though as in the last nine games he’s shooting 44.0 percent and 35.5 percent from three. Additionally, he scored a career-high 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting in a recent game against the Sacramento Kings.
The organization views Ingram very highly, perhaps the highest of all the team’s young players as they reportedly refused to include him in a trading with the Sacramento Kings involving All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.