Through two games with the Los Angeles Lakers, third-year forward Brandon Ingram has looked as comfortable as he ever has in his young career, and seems primed for a breakout season in L.A. A few general managers are expecting the same from the 21-year-old.
According to the annual NBA GM survey released by NBA.com on Tuesday, 10 percent of the league’s general manager expect Ingram to have a breakout season with the Lakers. While 10 percent might not seem a lot, it was the second-largest percentage of votes for any player in that category, only trailing Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets. Tied for second with Ingram was All-Rookie first teamer Jayson Tatum.
Kyle Kuzma also received a respectable 7 percent of the votes, the same amount of votes as Aaron Gordon, Kawhi Leonard, Lauri Markkanen, Dejounte Murray and Ben Simmons. Seven percent is also what Simmons is projected to shoot from behind the arc next season (ba dum tsss).
Here is a full breakdown of how the general managers voted:
Which player is most likely to have a breakout season in 2018-19?
1. Jamal Murray, Denver – 20%
2. Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers – 10%
Jayson Tatum, Boston – 10%
4. Aaron Gordon, Orlando – 7%
Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers – 7%
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto – 7%
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago – 7%
Dejounte Murray, San Antonio – 7%
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia – 7%
Also receiving votes: Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia; Donovan Mitchell, Utah; Kelly Oubre Jr., Washington; Josh Richardson, Miami; Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas; Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
Ingram and Kuzma are easy picks for players that will likely see a marginal increase in production this season because of how well they fit alongside LeBron James.
And as versatile as both Ingram and Kuzma are, they will make their biggest impact on the offensive end. Last season, Ingram and Kuzma were one of three Lakers to average at least 15 points per game in at least 50 games played. Julius Randle was the other.
With elite playmakers like James, Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo getting them open looks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ingram and Kuzma average near 20 points per game this season. However, in order for this team to reach the next level, Ingram and Kuzma will have to continue their upward trajectory on the defensive end as well.
Expectations aren’t particularly high for this Lakers team outside of Los Angeles, but if Ingram and Kuzma can emerge as legitimate No. 2 and 3 options to James, expectations could shift sooner rather than later. In the meantime, let’s see if they can win a single preseason game.
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