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Brandon Ingram assigned to South Bay Lakers

Brandon Ingram took the next step in his recovery from a sprained ankle, joining Rajon Rondo on the South Bay Lakers.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Ingram appears to be on the verge of returning to the Los Angeles Lakers, as they have assigned him to their G League affiliate, joining Rajon Rondo, who was sent down Monday afternoon. To be clear, neither are expected to play in any games with the team, but this allows for some extra practice time before they play in an NBA game again.

Update: Ingram and Rondo have both been recalled by L.A. Original story follows.

Ingram’s assignment was announced by the Lakers late Tuesday morning.

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Brandon Ingram to the South Bay Lakers on rehab assignment, it was announced today.

Ingram appeared in 20 games (all starts) this season before suffering a sprained left ankle on December 5 vs. San Antonio, averaging 15.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 30.7 minutes per game.

As frustrating as Ingram has been at times (especially offensively) this season, the Lakers will absolutely welcome him back with open arms. Defensively, Ingram is an extremely valuable perimeter presence, as he’s learned to better utilize angles and his length to disrupt whoever he finds himself guarding.

The Lakers have also deeply missed Ingram and Rondo’s creative abilities with a second unit that has, at times, had to be run by Lance Stephenson and Svi Mykhailiuk (Lance Sviphenson, if you will).

As with Rondo, the role Ingram might return to is incredibly interesting. On one hand, the Lakers’ starters have looked (and fared statistically) a lot better with Josh Hart in the lineup. On the other hand, the Lakers have gone a pedestrian 3-2 over the five games Ingram has missed. Part of this has to do with Ingram and Rondo’s absence and the effect it had on the second unit, but make no mistake, that group does miss Ingram’s versatility defensively.

One hope for Ingram’s return is that he’s watched what Kyle Kuzma has done to fit in alongside LeBron James. If Ingram has been studying Kuzma’s approach to offense, he might have learned what kinds of things he could do if he returned to the starting group. If not, we might just get a return to those frustrations fans had with Ingram’s offensive style, and start counting down to Hart being reinserted among the starters.

The most important point here, though, is that Ingram is getting healthy. If he’s utilized properly upon his return, the Lakers could really start to reach their full potential — and that’s all that really matters.

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