There are no two ways around it: Brandon Ingram was an awful shooter last year, literally one of the worst in the NBA. The then-19-year-old rookie averaged just 9.4 points on 40.2 percent shooting, which somehow understates how bad his shooting really was.
Out of 454 players measured by NBA.com last year, Ingram’s effective field goal percentage (which takes into account the added value of free-throws and three-pointers) of 44.2 percent ranked 407th in the NBA. That is horrific, and Ingram likely would’ve improved this year just by virtue of a little more NBA experience and some added strength to finish around the rim more frequently.
Ingram has done more than that, though. According to his latest blog for BiPro USA, a protein supplement endorsed by Ingram and Larry Nance, Jr., “Ingram kicked off his summer by tweaking the form of his jump shot. He’s put an added emphasis on keeping his elbow in and his shot has a different release point.”
He says it’s helped him get better results.
“I’ve been working on my shot mechanics to get better,” Ingram told BiPro. “It feels more comfortable now. I’m more confident from the perimeter and feel ready to nail my outside shots.”
Ingram nailing a few more jumpers would make a huge difference in the effectiveness of his game. Last season Ingram only canned 29.4 percent of his threes, and his shot chart looked pretty awful from everywhere but the mid-range area on the left of the court:
If Ingram could just become average or better at threes like he was in college (no small task, but an important one), it would force defenders to have to cover him on the perimeter, which would open up extra space for what was a clogged Lakers offense last season.
Ingram improving his shooting would also make defenders close out a bit quicker on him when he did catch the ball behind the arc, which could allow for more pump fakes and the slithery drives to the rim he specialized in towards the end of last season.
It’s the offseason, which means that every player is going to talk about how they feel more confident, stronger, and more talented than ever. That’s just how this stuff goes. But if Ingram’s tweaks to his jumper make a tangible difference, it could make it far more likely he has a bounce-back campaign in his second year as an NBA player rather than going through a prolonged sophomore slump.