Brandon Ingram had his fair share of ups and downs over his rocky rookie season. The Los Angeles Lakers forward shot just 36.3 percent from the field prior to the All-Star break, or put more accurately, Ingram bricked 63.7 percent of his attempts before the mid-season vacation.
While revealing that the Lakers want him to work out with Kobe Bryant this summer during his exit interview, Ingram also shared that following the All-Star break is when he really felt things click for him.
The esteemed Zach Lowe of ESPN agreed, and in his annual NBA Awards column (all of which any basketball fan should read), Lowe — who has a vote — said he would select Ingram for the NBA’s All-Rookie second team due to how well he acquitted himself in the second half of the season (in which Ingram shot a much-improved 47.5 percent from the field).
Here was Lowe’s reasoning for voting Ingram amongst the ten best rookies in the NBA this season (other than this draft class not playing that well yet):
Ingram and Chriss were hard to evaluate. They played more than most rookies, but they walked into those minutes on teams trying to lose. They contributed to that losing. How do you weigh that against Yogi Ferrell shooting almost 41 percent from 3 for a Mavs team that flirted with playoff contention before wheezing into submission? Or Taurean Prince surging late into a starting role for an actual playoff team? Or Domantas Sabonis serving as a placeholder starter on a good team until a trade brought in someone better?
In the end, I just liked the way Ingram played more than I did Chriss. Ingram's hideous shooting numbers ticked up over the last month, and he was better at blending into the Lakers' system. He never forced the action, or sped out of control. He's a good passer, he cuts, and he can run a workable pick-and-roll. He tries on defense, and his long arms can be a real deterrent.
Lowe is a respected national reporter and analyst, and probably as good of a gauge of how most of the league sees Ingram as anyone (although this does appear to be his opinion, not reporting).
Still, it’s good for the Lakers to see at least one of their players get some national shine amidst another down year for the franchise.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our latest episode with our thoughts on Ingram and much more below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.