What Drafting Brandon Ingram Means for the Lakers
*Photo via Newsclip.com
The Los Angeles Lakers took Brandon Ingram with the 2nd pick of the NBA Draft Thursday. Ingram was a 1-and-done player at Duke university, and the player that some experts had as the #1 overall player. By drafting Ingram and not trading away the pick for a veteran, the Lakers also sent a message that they were “all in” on rebuilding from the ground up. It shows they are okay with struggling another year, in order to have a brighter future for years to come. As well, the Lakers have a new coach in Luke Walton, and they are willing to give him a few years to build up the team. The Lakers had offers for the 2nd pick, but they did not even really listen to them. It was a smart move by the Lakers, because even in adding a veteran player, this team is not ready to win yet. They have a 2nd year starting point guard in D'angelo Russell and power forward in Julius Randle who is basically a 2nd year player. Adding someone like a Kevin Love would not have greatly impacted the Lakers playoff hopes. Also, at this point, the Lakers are not attractive enough to add someone like Kevin Durant.
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So, the Lakers did the smart thing and got a potential franchise forward in Brandon Ingram. He’s 6’9” and can shoot the 3-ball. Ingram averaged 17 points per game and almost 7 rebounds per game at Duke. He also shot a remarkable 41% from the 3-point line. He will give Jordan Clarkson and D’angelo Russell a a big target in the corner off of the pick-and-roll. Jeff Goodman from ESPN was quoted as saying “I'll be shocked if he's not one of the most coachable players on his team -- and even in the league. He is extremely well-liked by just about everyone.”
The Lakers forward position struggled last year. When Kobe Bryant wasn’t in the game, Nick Young played in the three position. Obviously Kobe is gone this year, so the Lakers not only drafted their biggest need, but also the best player available. Young only shot 33% from the field last year and struggled to guard anyone. He also didn’t contribute at all when it came to rebounds and assists.
The Lakers are said to be heavily pursuing Hassan Whiteside in free agency, and if they could manage to land him, that would complete the starting lineup. A starting lineup of Russell – PG , Clarkson – SG, Ingram – SF , Randle – PF, and Whiteside – C would give the Lakers are very talented young core. Ingram will need to put on some weight to be effective on the defensive end, but he will be able to contribute immediately spot up shooting and slashing to the basket.