The Lakers selected Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in this year’s draft.
The 19 year-old small forward has already drawn comparisons to Golden State Warriors’ small forward, Kevin Durant, a former MVP, due to their similar body types and style of play. Although Durant was more offensively polished upon entering the league, Ingram is projected to be a better two-way player because of his lateral quickness and anticipation skills on defense.
Yes, it was Ingram’s defense in the Las Vegas Summer League that caught the eyes of the NBA and fans, but a solid offensive showing per-game of 12.2 pts. and 4.2 reb. on 41% shooting in 27 minutes also provided promise.
However, it was not enough promise for head coach Luke Walton to give Ingram the starting job as a rookie.
Newly acquired veteran forward, Luol Deng, will likely start at small forward when the Lakers begin their season on October 26th against the Houston Rockets.
Deng is an efficient offensive player and one of the better defenders at his position. His leadership and defensive presence will balance out the Lakers’ starting lineup.
This is probably better for Ingram, too, as the pressure of being a starter might have been a lot for the rookie. Backing up a veteran in Deng will be a great learning experience for Ingram and he will be more of a vocal point on offense with the second unit. He can move into the starting lineup as the season progresses, but that will depend on his play early on.
Fellow rookies of the 2016 draft class voted Ingram as most likely to win the 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year award and also to have the best career.
I expect great things from Ingram, as do the Lakers, and I will not be surprised if he impresses early on in his first season.