The Los Angeles Lakers were the featured team on NBA TV's "Real Training Camp" series on Friday, meaning fans worldwide were given an opportunity for a look inside the purple and gold's efforts to prepare for the coming season.
While it's difficult to glean a ton of information about the team from a quick glimpse at the fourth day of camp practices, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak made it pretty clear during a televised interview while watching the afternoon session that the organization is still high on their pair of second overall picks, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram.
"I think both of those players have a little gold dust that was sprinkled on them from the basketball gods," Kupchak said, referencing an old anecdote former general manager Jerry West used to use to describe players who displayed star potential. "Whether or not they become what we all hope they become, that's up to them.
"When you're 19-ears old, you can't rush the process, but I think they want to become great players."
Both Russell and Ingram are brimming with potential, but while Russell seems set up to show off his progress this season, how effective Ingram will be out of the gates is a bigger question mark. The chief concern about the lanky rookie all offseason has been his size, but Ingram continues to push back against the idea that weakness is his weakness.
"With my size, people will say that I shy away from contact, but I like physicality," Ingram said on NBA TV."I like getting into guys and I know that’s how I’m going to get my shots. Just shooting over guys and being physical with guys, because I have a little bit of strength that people don’t know about."
In addition to in the linked clip above, Ingram showed how he plans to combat any weight he gives up at the NBA level in the post-up drills the Lakers put him through. D’Angelo Russell, Julian Jacobs, and Anthony Brown were all rendered helpless as Ingram shot over them like they were the chair Yi Jianlian used to work out against:
Brandon Ingram doing work in the post. pic.twitter.com/hgzqLY6mCI— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) September 30, 2016
Russell sounded impressed with what he saw:
Russell said Ingram "shot over me every time" to get him in the early 1-on-1 stage.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 30, 2016
However, Ingram ultimately wasn’t able to win the Lakers’ one-on-one tournament due this inability to be as effective against larger players:
Ingram beat up on the guards w/length, but couldn’t handle Randle’s size inside. He said he wished he drove by instead of settling for J’s.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 30, 2016
Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle going at it https://t.co/8lOdCu0030— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 30, 2016
Brandon Ingram beat Nick Young, and Randle beat Tarik Black to get to the 1-on-1 final. Randle won 3-2 with this bully move: pic.twitter.com/8aj42e7DOA— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 30, 2016
He shouldn’t feel too bad though, because Ingram was hardly the only one being knocked around by the third-year forward:
Larry Nance, Jr. and the rest of the bigs lost to Julius Randle in 1-on-1: "He bully-balled us to death."— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 30, 2016
Whether Ingram can bulk up enough to reach his gold dust littered potential is a question for another day, but he’s certainly shown encouraging signs so far during the Lakers’ first week of training camp.
Rest of the day round-up:
- Julius Randle may have bullied everyone in one-on-one, but he didn’t escape unscathed:
Julius Randle got hit in the mouth at end of practice. He may get stitches but not clear at this point. Not considered serious— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 30, 2016
- It also sounds lIke Yi Jianlian is looking good:
It looks like Yi Jianlian will be the Lakers' backup center. Looks good in practice, hitting 3s, potentially giving the team a stretch five.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) September 30, 2016
- Also looking good are the Lakers early attempts to put in a real, NBA level offense:
- Finally, Luke Walton and Luol Deng also spoke to NBA TV during the session:
.@LuolDeng9 joined the desk to discuss his role as a veteran and share his thoughts on this young @Lakers team. https://t.co/Y8jYtA2piz— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 30, 2016
First year HC Luke Walton joined the desk to break down his approach to the upcoming season. #RealTrainingCamp https://t.co/DVlM3SNeim— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 30, 2016
The story behind Phil Jackson influencing Luke Walton to become a coach. #RealTrainingCamp https://t.co/xA6Cji9NSl— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 30, 2016
Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for all the latest on training camp. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.