As soon as the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Brandon Ingram, images of him, D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov working and learning together as a unit began to crystalize in fans' heads. Granted, that list of guys takes a bit of a digger there at the end, but the seeds seemed to be planted for a group that we could watch grow together. Then, the team added Luol Deng, and suddenly, one of those kids' spots in the starting lineup fell into jeopardy.
Adding Deng made sense from a mentorship standpoint, and he's undeniably a better player at this stage in his career than anyone who played for the Lakers last year. At the end of the day, you want to start winning games, and Deng helps do that, at least this season. Still, the kids should get as many minutes as possible and as early in the season as possible, so fan didn't respond to this bit of "news" that came after Ingram's introductory presser.
I tweeted this, obviously, but the phrasing should be clarified. Mike Bresnahan was answering a question with informed speculation. This wasn't him reporting anything he's heard from the coaching staff.
Bresnahan is saying Deng will probably start, with Ingram beginning the season off the bench.— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) July 5, 2016
So, before we fly off the handles, take a deep breath. It's going to be okay. Let's just see this for what it is right now and move on accordingly. We get a nice preview of what the rotation might be, and a feel for what the Lakers were thinking when they added Deng to the roster.
For now, Ingram is tasked with getting his contract inked and prepping for this weekend's Las Vegas Summer League. And before we go there, this is nothing like Byron benching the kids last year, when there wasn't a better alternative he could've gone with. Like I said, Deng is probably the best player the Lakers have had in a couple years.
This is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it is a situation worth keeping an eye on this season.