Coming into the season there were major questions about who would be the second scorer behind LeBron James for the Los Angeles Lakers. Most viewed the best potential option as third-year forward Brandon Ingram after an extremely promising second season.
Now, nearly a quarter of the way through the season, the returns haven’t been great as Ingram has been inconsistent while trying to find his role next to James. Now with rumors about Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal being available via trade, many are wondering whether the Lakers would include Ingram as the centerpiece in a potential deal.
One Lakers executive isn’t ready to give up on Ingram however, believing that he can’t yet be fully evaluated as a possible star, via Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:
“It’s too early to tell for Ingram,” a Lakers executive said. “Where was [Beal] at the same age?”
The executive actually makes a good point when comparing him to Beal in that sense. In his third season at the age of 21, Beal averaged 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists; not far off from Ingram’s averages of 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists this season.
For Ingram, it is simply about potential. Many young players have it, but most don’t realize it and teams can become stuck focusing on a player’s ceiling when that player is simply what he is. Of course in other cases it just takes some players longer to realize it.
Beal didn’t make his big leap until his fifth season in the NBA while the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George took four years to take that leap into stardom.
Whether Ingram ultimately makes that leap, or remains this tantalizing player with great tools that never quite puts it all together is unknown. But it does still seem to be a little too early make a final ruling on him.