From the moment he was drafted, the consistent caveat just about every analyst has added to their thoughts about Brandon Ingram has been some variation of “he has to put on weight.” The Los Angeles Lakers’ latest draft pick is incredibly skinny, with just 195 pounds precariously clinging to his 6’9 frame, and he’ll likely struggle at times to deal with the strength of the more developed veterans in the NBA this season.
That issue was on full display at Las Vegas Summer League, with Ingram going through games where he was unable to get to his preferred/most effective spots on the floor, and the idea that he needs to add weight served as the crux of Baxter Holmes of ESPN’s latest feature on the young wing.
There is a ton of detail and insight from personal trainers on why Ingram should be careful about how quickly he packs on weight withing (all Lakers fans should read the piece in it’s entirety) but one detail stuck out as Ingram attempts to add bulk to his lithe frame:
Ever since late June, [Ingram’s] life has been a whirlwind -- jetting to New York to be drafted (and endorse a deodorant stick), then heading to his North Carolina hometown, then to Los Angeles to be introduced as a Laker, then to Las Vegas for NBA summer league and to practice against Team USA, then to L.A. to house hunt (and endorse an oatmeal chocolate chip protein bar), then back to North Carolina to catch his breath.
Along the way, every element of his jet-set life has been interrupted by a reminder app on Brandon Ingram's iPhone -- the little app that dings every three to four hours, every ... single ... day, telling him to eat. On a recent afternoon in Las Vegas, Ingram sank into a hotel room couch and explained how he aims for six feedings every 24 hours: breakfast, then a snack, then lunch, then a snack, then dinner, then a midnight snack. "It gets sickening," Ingram says, sounding tired, "but I just try to stick to it."
A lot of people would probably kill for that problem, but it does make for interesting questions about how the Lakers should balance trying to allow for Ingram to have effectiveness immediately versus his long-term health.
Ingram will struggle while playing against grown men for the first time this season, to be sure, but as is noted by Holmes in the feature, the Lakers didn’t draft Ingram for just this year. The team hopes he can be a centerpiece for their franchise for years to come, and to do so he’ll have to remain healthy, a goal that could apparently be put in jeopardy by gaining weight too rapidly.
Such concerns are something the Lakers should (and almost certainly will) keep in mind as Ingram goes through lulls in his play due to his lack of an NBA body, and fans should do the same.
Ingram will likely play a more supplementary role in his first season as he adjusts to life as a professional, meaning his box score numbers are probably not going to be eye-popping enough for him to win Rookie of the Year or other such early accolades. He’ll also probably have games where he looks like the best prospect from the 2016 class.
The key will be having patience with Ingram as he goes through both. Maybe everyone should just follow Ingram’s lead, and set a reminder to do so on their iPhone.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.