Los Angeles Lakers wing Brandon Ingram scored a career-high 17 points against the Toronto Raptors, but there is only one scoring number the rookie cares about: his team’s total.
“That doesn’t really matter if we don’t win tonight,” Ingram said of his scoring achievement (as transcribed by Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com).
Some fans will probably appreciate Ingram’s unfazed reaction to his new career-high, but it doesn’t mean they can’t also get excited about what he showed. Ingram needed 16 shots to get there, but given that he’s shot just 47.3 percent at the rim this year, going six for nine there against Toronto is a good sign for the rookie.
Ingram got to the cup in a variety of ways, working both off of the ball and with it in his hands. For his first bucket of the game, he simply forced the issue in transition in order to get an easy layup:
He also showed off this nifty pump-and-drive move before finishing in traffic instead of settling for a mid-range jumper:
Ingram’s cut to make himself a target for this Clarkson pass was pretty solid too, and exactly the type of way he can make himself a threat away from the ball:
After an offensive rebound, Clarkson finds Ingram down low for the dunk #LakeShow ( : @SpectrumSN & @spectdeportes) pic.twitter.com/NgSm7hTKwI— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 3, 2016
Ingram wasn’t perfect against the Raptors, but he did show that he’s continuing to progress as a player. He and some Lakers fans may not be thrilled with the result, but it’s important to watch for little progress like this. It’s harder this season because the team is no longer farewell-tour fueled locomotive of sadness, but losses with promising signs from one of the Lakers’ young players were basically the only positive to look for for the the majority of last year.
The team is in a better spot now, despite their result against Toronto. Ingram is also improving, and although if it didn’t lead to a win, these things aren’t mutually exclusive. Even if it’s understandable that Ingram can’t see it.
All stats/video per NBA.com. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.