Expectations remain sky high when it comes to Brandon Ingram’s future, but that potential doesn’t appear to be quite ready to come to fruition yet. Ingram’s struggled in the three games he’s played in exhibition, emerging as one of the biggest disappointment’s of the Los Angeles Lakers’ preseason.
Ingram looked sharp in his lone Las Vegas Summer League game, but the Lakers elected to sit him out after an injury scare. Brandon’s attention to growing as a basketball player never wavered through summer, with the entire franchise raving about his work ethic.
Unfortunately, all that work hasn’t amounted to success for Ingram. He admitted as much after practice on Monday, sounding down about what’s been an ugly preseason for the Sophomore forward.
“I feel like offensively it’s not going so well at all. Just trying to figure out how to do different things on the basketball floor. I know I put in all the work over the summer, so it's gotta come sooner or later,” Ingram said of his progress on the offensive side of the ball.
Luke agreed that things aren’t “going so well” with Ingram right now, discussing what he’s seen from Brandon during his preseason struggles.
“I think that's fair to say,” Walton said when asked if he thinks Ingram is forcing the issue. “I think he wants to be great so bad, and he's worked so hard, that he wants to show everyone how good he is. I think because of that, he's had some possessions where he definitely is trying to do too much.”
Possessions like this, which aren’t uncommon to see from Brandon right now...:
... certainly point to Walton’s assertion that the former No. 2 pick is doing the most. Unfortunately, he’s also succeeding the least. Ingram has the worst shooting percentage on the team overall, connecting on just 26.7 percent of his attempts while averaging 8 points per game.
Coach Luke doesn’t sound concerned about the long-term picture, preaching patience to his young forward.
“My message to him is we're going to be together for a lot of years, and you're going to be a great NBA player. Keep working the way you work, and enjoy it. Have fun with your young teammates and growing together, and let the game kind of come to you as opposed to trying to go out there and force some things.”
“Fun” is something both Luke and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson are telling Ingram to go attain, but from what we’ve seen from him through his young career suggests he plays at a much calmer frequency.
“Just try to have fun. I think him and Magic have been telling me to try to go out there and have fun. Magic told me last night he hasn't seen me have fun yet. Just trying to go out there, relax a little bit, and just play my game...
“As a basketball player I gotta do better, and I've gotta have more energy on the basketball floor and kind of come in and have a better mentality. For me, these last three games I can go back and reflect on them a little bit, and try to gear up for the regular season,” Ingram said.
Some of this might clear up for Brandon once the Lakers are full force and playing regular season rotations. Brook Lopez and Lonzo Ball will be key components in Ingram finding comfortable places to score from, which seems to be an important aspect to helping him find some efficiency in his game. Leaving Ingram to create for himself is looking like a no-go at this point in his career.
Reason to be worried? Not quite, but it might be safe to start walking back high expectations that Ingram’s immediately ready to make a leap at the start of the regular season.
*Quotes transcribed via Lakers.com