With all the attention surrounding Lonzo Ball and his vocal father, LaVar, the steady improvement of the Los Angeles Lakers’ No. 2 pick in 2016, Brandon Ingram, in his second year has flown under the radar.
After failing to make a lasting impression on fans during his rookie campaign, Ingram has looked the part of a superstar on the rise. In fact, Ingram is one of five players under 25 averaging at least 15 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. The others are Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
In the latest installment of his reoccurring series “The Point,” hosted by Lakers.com, Kevin Ding took a closer look at the leap Ingram’s made in his second year and talked to Ingram about what he feels has attributed to his breakout season, including his play above the rim and his reworked outside shot.
“My arm is so long, I kind of shoot over my head sometimes,” Ingram said. “So [Lakers assistant coach Brian Keefe] tried to have me come in every day and do form shooting. I did that for maybe a whole month so I could shoot the ball the right way. And then we did it step-by-step, each and every day, and eventually I got to a point where I felt comfortable shooting the ball the right way.”
Since the start of January, Ingram has made 46.7 percent of his three-pointers on 15 total attempts. Despite his newfound success from behind the arc, Ingram wants to stay aggressive attacking the basket, where he’s been the most efficient this season.
“That’s the way I always played. It took me games and repetitions of doing it over and over again [in the NBA] before I could actually start doing it,” Ingram said. “Just getting more confident, getting more repetitions in it, continuing to do it. Once I saw I could do it, I just wanted to do it over and over again. Then I came in and wanted to practice it, and I just repeatedly did it. I wanted to do it over again every single day.
Ding mentions how good Ingram has been at not just finishing, but drawing contact at the rim this season, but in order for Ingram to take his game to the next level he has to start making his free throws. On the season, Ingram is shooting just slightly above 67 percent from the charity stripe.
“Sometimes I can get lost in games,” he said. “Sometimes shots just don’t go my way, but for me in my growth and as a leader, it’s important for me to stay aggressive. I’ve tried to make that a big part of me in this new year: Keep being aggressive, no matter the shooting night, no matter how it is. Just keep attacking, whether it’s a shot for myself or a shot created for my teammates.”
At 20 years old, Ingram still has plenty of time to work the small things out, but he’s on the right track and he knows it just as well as anyone.
“I’ve made a jump, but I still feel like I could play a lot better. Right now,” Ingram said. “I can play better right now. I know I’m going to be really, really good in the future if I stay healthy and I continue to work on my game, but I always try to stay in the present to see how good I can be right now. I’m trying to make sure I use every single practice, every single game.”