Sometimes it’s just fun to revel in the potential of one of the young players. Russell’s ice in my veins shooting, Randle beasting and showing an ability to put together counters to pet plays, and, well, Brandon Ingram fully extending with a go-go-gadget dunk over Malcom Brogdon after driving by Giannis Antetokounmpo:
Archives For Brandon Ingram
If you look only at the cumulative stats, Brandon Ingram is not having a very good preseason. He’s shooting 41% from the field, scoring 8.1 points a night, grabbing a little over 2 rebounds, and dishing almost 2 assists a game. For most of the team’s 7 exhibition contests, he could be seen floating around the perimeter, looking more like a ball moving role player than the 2nd overall pick in his draft.
Over the past couple of games, however, Ingram is starting to find his way. On Saturday, in the 2nd half against the Warriors, coach Luke Walton put the ball in Ingram’s hands to be more of a facilitator. This unlocked his ball handling and shot creation ability (for him and his teammates). But more than that, it engaged him in the process of making the offense work.
In Wednesday night’s loss to the Warriors, Ingram again was more engaged and looking for his offense even when he was mostly playing off the ball. As the game progressed, though, Ingram was again put back in position to facilitate and again he thrived. His fourth quarter was one of efficiency and offensive aggression — he poured in 14 of his 21 points and half of his 4 assists while playing the entire period.
You know the drill. We did this last year and the series lives on with updates for the 2016-17 Lakers’ roster. Next up in our series is Brandon Ingram’s playmaking ability. Enjoy.
When the Lakers ended up not only keeping their top-3 protected lottery pick, but staying put at #2, the collective celebration of Lakers’ fans was only a slight notch below some sort of massive playoff victory. The team had suffered through so many losses and the prospect of snagging a player the caliber of Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram made it all seem (at least somewhat) worth it.
Ingram, of course, became the pick and fans have been giddy with excitement and hope ever since. A SF prospect with a rare combination of size, length, and shooting ability, Ingram not only brings an intriguing skill set but fills a major long term need on the roster.
And while Ingram’s shooting ability and defensive potential offer the most long term upside for a roster sorely in need of both, this upcoming season the rookie might just help the team most with another facet of his game — his playmaking ability.
Brandon Ingram is the last 1st round pick from the 2016 NBA draft who has yet to sign his rookie contract. That, though, will change on Tuesday according to Shams Charania of The Vertical:
Wait is over for Brandon Ingram: The Los Angeles Lakers will sign the No. 2 overall pick on Tuesday, sources tell The Vertical.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 23, 2016
Brandon Ingram is very skinny. I know, this is not breaking news. But when looking at Ingram and his rail-thin physique, numerous questions arise about how effective he will be and how the lack of bulk on his frame will hamper him in his rookie season. At 6’9″ and only 190 pounds, this is understandable. After all, guys his size would typically carry anywhere between 30-40 pounds fairly easily.
That weight matters. I matters when anchoring both offensively and defensively. You want to hold position in the post? You want to battle a guy trying to back you down? You want to move a player on a box out or avoid having him move you out? That extra weight matters. There is no way around this.
What also matters, though, is strength. With a prospect like Ingram, it’s important to note the distinction between strength and weight. While he is actively working to put on pounds and improve his strength, the likelihood is that only the latter will improve much over the course of his rookie season.
We have discussed at length the Lakers looking to use the mechanics of the collective bargaining agreement to their advantage to keep cap space open. The key to holding that space open is Tarik Black and the difference between his cap hold and the contract the Lakers have agreed to with him, but the deals for Marcelo Huertas and Brandon Ingram also play a role in this.
With Ingram, though, the difference actually isn’t all that much. His cap hold, dictated by the collectively bargained and already established salary slotted to the the #2 overall pick is roughly $4.4 million for this upcoming season. Rookie 1st rounders can sign for anywhere between 80% – 120% of that amount with most picks getting 120% based on historical standard.
The difference between his cap hold and the 120% standard is roughly $820K. Not a small sum of cash in real world standards and certainly enough where it could be meaningful in any sort of deal which the team wants to leverage its cap space, but it’s also not a huge enough where it is likely to make a big difference.
Ingram, though, isn’t the only 1st round pick who is unsigned. He is, in fact, one of three:
Heading into Friday night’s summer league finale, Brandon Ingram had done lots of things well but not had a singular strong performance. His best game in the four previous contests to that point was the Lakers’ Vegas opener where he scored efficiently and played a nice all-around game. But even that game was just sort of a let-the-game-come-to-me sort of performance rather than one where he actively tried to take control.
That approach changed on Friday against the Jazz and, boy, was it fun to watch. Ingram finished the night 22 points on 13 shots, grabbed 5 rebounds, and dished 4 assists. Down the stretch he made key plays, but more than that showed a certain assertiveness throughout that was great to see. Just watch the highlights:
Brandon Ingram is a 6’9″ long and lean all-court basketball playing dude. He combines guard skills with the height and length of a big man. Watch any highlight reel of him playing the game — be it in high school or in his lone year at Duke — and there’s a smooth, almost regal way to how he plays the game. After the selection was made, Mitch Kupchak said Ingram “has no ceiling” as a player.
This sort of high praise paired with what we see on the court, plus the stories of his work ethic and character, inspire a level of excitement that is not often felt. Allowing for a brief tangent, I love D’Angelo Russell and think he has the ability to be a truly fantastic player. During Thursday’s draft coverage when analyst after analyst tried to find ways to trade or discard Russell as if he wasn’t good…I found it comical. Ingram, and the total package he possesses, might excite me even more than Russell. Which is saying something.
A balance must be struck, though.