In case you missed it, Brandon Ingram’s body type and style of play are reminiscent of a younger Kevin Durant. I know, you probably haven’t heard that revolutionary insight before.
From how skinny and long he is to his shooting and ball-handling ability, the similarities are certainly easy to see, even if Durant was the better all-around player coming into his rookie season. At this point, just about everyone has made the comparison, including Durant himself at Team USA camp this week.
According to Chris Mannix of the Vertical, those comparisons don’t bother Ingram, and he’s ready to embrace the opportunity to go against the man who said looking at him was akin to “looking in the mirror” earlier this week.
“It’s a very special comparison,” Ingram told Mannix in Las Vegas. “But, of course, I know I’m not him. I know I’m not him yet, but I have the potential to make my own brand. Of course, you grow up with him as an idol, and in a few months he’s going to become my rival. It’s going to be a dream come true. I think just watching him for so long and having the ability to actually learn and play against him is just going to be a special motivation for me as a competitor and someone who really looked up to him.”
It is interesting to hear Ingram so willingly embrace his similarity to Durant, especially after downplaying the narrative that he was in Los Angeles to replace Kobe Bryant at his introductory press conference. Durant is a top-three player in the NBA today, and it’s encouraging for the Lakers that Ingram is already chomping at the bit to go up against him, both in practice this week and when the regular season comes around.
With that being said, Ingram is not Durant. He most likely won’t reach Durant’s heights as a player, and that’s not a knock on him as much as it is an acknowledgement that Durant is one of the most unique and talented players to ever come through the NBA.
It’s nice to see Ingam wanting to take on the challenge of living up to his most common pre-draft comparison, but expectations for the kid who will only turn 19-years old a little over a month before the season starts should probably be slowed down a bit. Ingram absolutely has a chance to be an incredibly special player, but as he said “I know I’m not [Durant] yet.”
Let’s make sure we let him play a few games in the NBA before we start expecting him to be.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.