When the Los Angeles Lakers selected Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, it was the most thrilling moment of a promising offseason for the purple and gold, but it wasn't the only one of the team's moves to make fans around Los Angeles giddy. That honor goes to the hiring of Luke Walton as the team's new head coach, a development that has Ingram excited as well.
"Am I ready to play for coach Walton?" Ingram asked himself, repeating a question a fan asked him on Twitter. "Most definitely."
The feeling is mutual.
"He's the player I wanted in the draft," said Walton, when asked if he thought Ingram would be the best player in his draft class. "I don't know if he's the best or not, but he's the player I wanted for sure."
Walton may not have been willing to put public pressure on his youngest player to be the greatest of his class, but Ingram didn't shy away from such expectations.
"[My goal is to] be the best basketball player that I can be, and also win Rookie of the Year," said Ingram. "Just try to get my teammates involved and be the best player that I can be each and every day.
"I'm just ready to get with the guys, build good chemistry, and just try to win as many games as we can," Ingram continued, and if he's right about the potential of his fellow teammates, they may win more games playing in Walton's new system than most expect this season.
"I think we're going to be a great young team. Of course we have a lot to learn from coach Walton, but we're going to do everything the coaches ask us to do," said Ingram. "We just have to work hard to be the best players that we can be."
Those quotes are all encouraging, and Ingram seems mature beyond his years. However, he did reveal how young he was, and how new Lakers history is to him, with one (minor) gaffe:
Brandon Ingram just told @LakersReporter he wants to wear #13 with the Lakers next year— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) June 24, 2016
That number is of course retired for Wilt Chamberlain, but if memorizing numbers hanging from the Staples Center rafters is the biggest issue the skinny 18-year old faces in his adjustment to the NBA this season, then his chances of winning Rookie of the Year are looking pretty good indeed.
All quotes transcribed via the linked videos or Lakers.com livestream. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.