Through the early stages of the 2018-19 NBA season, it was no secret Brandon Ingram played his best basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers when he wasn’t sharing the court with LeBron James.
That was highlighted when James suffered a groin strain last Christmas, and Ingram was elevated to the team’s primary option as his veteran teammate recovered. Though, that stretch came with its share of highs and lows for Ingram as well.
As the idea of Ingram being incapable of truly flourishing alongside James began to gain steam, Lakers head coach Luke Walton pushed back on that idea. “When Brandon is at his best, it doesn’t matter if LeBron is playing or not,” Walton recently said.
“He’s pushing the ball in transition, he’s playmaking. You’ve seen him the last couple games, setting flare screens and then slipping into the paint from there, making the extra pass. So there’s plenty that Brandon can do to help our team be great, whether LeBron is on or off the floor.”
In just his third season, Ingram did have times where he struggled to find a balance between scoring and facilitating. While the 21-year-old has the potential, he often resorted to playing isolation basketball late in games which resulted in poor shot selection and turnovers.
Ingram began to find his stride, averaging 27.8 points on 57 percent shooting over six games out of the All-Star break. But a season that already saw him miss time because of a four-game suspension and later a sprained ankle, came to an early end as he’s now dealing with a blood clot.