Las Vegas only gave 2016 second overall pick Brandon Ingram the third best odds to win Rookie of the Year, but he hasn’t let that stop him from believing he can do it. Ingram voiced this goal on the night he was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers, and he reiterated to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News that it remains on his to-do list.
“That’s something that is on my mind,” Ingram told Medina following his time at the Rookie Transition Program. “All rookies want to win rookie of the year. That’s something that drives me.”
Can he do it? Let’s just say it’s not totally unreasonable to doubt.
Ingram is the second-youngest rookie in the NBA behind Dragan Bender, and unless their name is Karl-Anthony Towns or LeBron James, rookies don’t make a consistent impact right away. That pretty much goes double when they’re as young as Ingram.
Lakers fans need look no further than last year’s second overall pick, D’Angelo Russell, and his issues adjusting to the NBA out of the gate. Russell had his moments, but overall his rookie campaign was filled with more issues than positives as the Lakers struggled to a 17-65 record.
Ingram will also be (likely) playing behind Luol Deng, who is probably the team’s best player right now. This will be a good thing for him long-term, as he’ll get to learn from Deng and be saved from having to take the most taxing defensive assignments on a nightly basis.
But while bringing Ingram along a little more slowly to start may be the best thing for a player so young, it’s not exactly conducive to his chances of winning Rookie of the Year. Ingram could be more ready than anyone is projecting and blow voters right off the bat, but it’s probably not worth betting on.
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