Before the Los Angeles Lakers took on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, head coach Luke Walton made changes to his starting unit and moved Josh Hart to bench in favor of Brandon Ingram, who returned from serving a four-game suspension.
In his first start since his suspension, Ingram picked up right where he left off, scoring 24 points — including a season high three 3-pointers — while also adding 5 rebounds and 3 blocks to round out his box score.
Walton told Bill Oram of The Athletic that he was impressed with what he saw from the 21-year-old and the rest of his new starting lineup, but he didn’t like that Ingram’s time was limited on the court because of fouls.
“He obviously started really good,” Walton said of Ingram. “He was ready to get after it. Hit shots, got to the rim, pushed it out for us. But the early foul trouble kind of messed up that rotation from then on. So the start of it looked good, but it’s a small sample size.”
This has been a recurring issue for Ingram this season. Although it’s a small sample size, Ingram has picked up at least four personal fouls in all but one game he’s played this season. He’s averaging three personal fouls per game on the season.
While some of that can be attributed to Ingram just being undisciplined on the defensive end, it likely has more to do with the new “freedom of movement” rule introduced by the NBA this season, which players are having trouble to adapting to, especially perimeter players like Ingram.
The rule is supposed to limit “arm wraps, grabbing and dislodging by both offensive and defensive players,” but so far it has just resulted in players picking up more fouls.
Whether Ingram agrees with the new controversial rule or not, he’s going to have to adapt sooner rather than later if he wants to be on the floor as much as possible.
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