Los Angeles Lakers sophomore wing Brandon Ingram is one of the most promising young prospects in the NBA. He also had one of the worst rookie seasons from a top pick we’ve seen in quite some time by the numbers.
Ingram’s length, the way he glides around the court and other aspects of his potential that aren’t measured by traditional statistics make it so that both of the preceding sentences can be true, although Lakers Las Vegas Summer League head coach Jud Buechler says the team is trying to address Ingram’s lack of statistical impact with a few tweaks to his shot.
“You’re going to see a big change in Brandon because he’s changed his jump shot a little bit. He’s kind of finely tuned his jump shot, made a few minor adjustments that I think are really going to help him,” Buechler told Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com. “Plus I just think confidence from a year of being in the NBA and playing as many minutes as he did, he’ll just be a completely different player this year in summer league compared to last year.”
The player Ingram was last year had his merits and an especially strong close to the season, but his percentages were not good any way you slice it. Ingram shot just 40.2 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from three and 62.1 percent from the line during his rookie season after going 44.2/41/68.2 percent from those distances, respectively, in his lone season at Duke.
The Lakers haven’t reworked his whole stroke, but it sounds like they’ve made one key change.
“The rotation of his shot. Brian Keefe, our assistant coach, really did a great job with him and just kind of tweaked a few little things that Brandon bought in to,” Buechler said.
Eagle-eyed fans may notice that Keefe has been widely credited with helping Kevin Durant on his path towards super-stardom as an assistant in Oklahoma City. Similar results obviously shouldn’t be expected from Ingram yet, but the early returns are good.
“We’ve seen incredible results,” Buechler said. “When he’s been shooting in the gym, his shot looks considerably better, and we’re hoping that can carry over to the games.”
The Lakers are probably hoping so too and it would certainly help Ingram reach his stated goal of averaging 40 points per game in summer league.
General manager Rob Pelinka said the team was looking to add “shooting and defense” over the summer, and while he was talking about free agency, a sweet-shooting Ingram would certainly be a boon to a spacing-starved Lakers roster.
Ingram’s rookie season is behind him, and it’s important to remember that most 19-year-olds aren’t productive NBA players, so he is no outlier there. With a year of experience under his belt and a reworked shot, Ingram might be ready to make a much more noticeable impact in year two.
All stats per NBA.com. and Basketball-Reference.com. All quotes transcribed via @Lakers. Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.