As our most recent podcast with Julius Randle’s trainer, Amoila Cesar, detailed, the off-season is a time for grinding and improving for the players. Like Randle, Brandon Ingram also attacked his summer training regimen, looking to improve on an up and down rookie campaign while building on the growth he showed to close out the year.
For Ingram, that seeking of improvement took many forms but he’d be the first to admit one major area he needed to tackle was improving his jumper. And in a recent sit-down with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, Ingram detailed what exact changes he worked on to become a better shooter:
For me it was the mechanics of the shot. Coach Keefe and I did a good job of just trying to come here every day and work. We started out with form shooting. Trying to keep myself from shooting over my head. Trying to find different ways that I feel comfortable shooting the basketball the right way. That was the first thing. The second thing was to get my body right. Of course, repetitions of everything I’d do in the game, but getting my body right in the weight room. Trying to eat a little bit better and eat a little bit more…
…I was shooting over my head. With my long arms, it was like a slingshot. Coming from college to the NBA, I was only about 180 pounds, so I was trying to push the ball to the rim from the 3-point line. I think I’ve gotten strong enough now where I feel comfortable shooting the ball from the 3-point line now. As I keep getting stronger, it’s going to be natural.
And here’s even more context from Lakers’ assistant coach Brian Keefe:
One of the goals going into the offseason with Brandon was to make his shot more efficient. Clean up a couple little things technically with his shot. He has good touch, but it was just making him more consistent and focusing on one or two things. One, his footwork, making sure he was on better balance…
…(We focused on) his hand placement on the ball and where his guide hand was. He has very long arms, so making his shot a little bit tighter and more compact, because when you have long arms more mistakes can be made. Shooting more one-handed and getting his left hand off the ball, specifically.
These technical shifts can mean all the difference for Ingram who doesn’t want to just be a really good player, but a great one. As Trudell points out in their sit down (read the entire thing), Ingram becoming a better shooter has the opportunity to open up his entire game and generate a bevy of opportunities all over the floor.
If defenders need to respect Ingram’s shooting ability and do so deeper out on the floor, there are so many benefits. Driving angles against hard closeouts open up. Passing opportunities materialize. His already deceptive first step becomes even more of a strength, which means more separation and more opportunities to use his long stride and length in creative ways to generate shot opportunities for himself and teammates.
Ultimately, then, I love reading about this type of work Ingram is doing. Not only do these types of technical adjustments have the opportunity to make him a more efficient and better player overall, but they grow his confidence in ways which make these technical improvements grow exponentially. Remember what Ingram looked like early in the year? Remember what he looked like at the end? Most of that was confidence and belief. If this summer’s work can add to that in ways to make another leap at the start of his second year?