And here I thought Brandon Ingram spent his summer working on his jumpshot. Turns out, though, he might have just been listening to Skee Lo and then having his wishes get granted. Or, at least, that’s the implication from his sit-down with Lakers Reporter Mike Trudell — who himself thinks Ingram has grown an inch or two over the summer:
I speculated that maybe Ingram gained an inch or two, but the Lakers maintain his current listing at 6’9’’. Here’s how Ingram answered my question about him gaining either weight or height:
INGRAM: I’m not sure. We actually haven’t done any of that. When I came back from my little break, a lot of people were saying I gained a little bit of weight, but I’m not sure.
KEEFE: He looks bigger. He looks stronger. He feels stronger, he plays stronger. And height? I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s possible.
Ingram saying he’s “not sure” if he’s grown is fine with me. Even if he does know, keep it a secret. Plus, like he and assistant coach Brian Keefe explained, it could just be that he’s filled out more and simply “looks” “bigger”. Not a big deal either way, but Ingram getting stronger, adding some mass, and (if he has grown) an inch or two would be big if true (literally).
As a 6’9″ wing, Ingram was already going to be a handful for perimeter players on both sides of the ball. His naturally high release point makes his jumper difficult to block and his already high standing reach (not to mention his crazy length) gives him advantages defensively and on the backboards. Not to mention, in a game where putting a ball into a cylinder positioned 10 feet off the ground is the main objective, being taller is almost always going to be better.
Additionally, any height Ingram puts on may help him down the line in terms of positional versatility. Remember, one of the reasons Ingram was such an intriguing talent coming out of Duke was that he played a ton of PF under Coach K. At the NBA level, Ingram was asked to slide down positions (mostly to PG, but also to some SG in certain lineups) more than he slid up to PF. But, part of projecting his long term success in the NBA ties into his ability to play some PF. While strength is the key attribute he’ll need to gain to play more PF, having an extra inch or two certainly doesn’t hurt.
Now, in the interest of trying to see both sides, there could be a downside to this as well. Ingram’s frame already doesn’t lend itself to gaining a lot of weight, so adding inches may make this more difficult. I mean, stretching out an already skinny dude just makes him more…skinny. Further, if there were issues I saw with Ingram’s game last year, at least part of them stemmed from his high hips which makes it harder to sink into a defensive stance and impacts center of gravity.
Of course, I’ll take a trade off of a couple of inches in height in a player so young who has time to get stronger and learn how to leverage his physical gifts.