The 2018-19 NBA regular season is still more than four months away, but a handful of the Los Angeles Lakers’ young players are already back in the gym. That list includes Brandon Ingram, who arguably has the most room to grow physically this summer.
Ingram came back from last offseason looking a little bigger but his frame is still among the lankiest in the league. However, that doesn’t mean Ingram didn’t get any stronger.
In an interview with Lakers sideline reporter Mike Trudell, Lakers Director of Strength and Endurance Training Gunnar Peterson said that Ingram is the strongest he’s ever been and even compared his sneaky strength to to a player Ingram has drawn comparisons to since entering the NBA:
“Brandon is way stronger than he looks. You don’t have to be built like Karl Malone to be strong. There are thinner guys who are really strong. Kevin Durant, who I used to work with, has real strength to his body. And Brandon is no stranger to the weight room. He does everything we ask of him and more. He’s a worker. If you look at pictures of him from his rookie year to the end of this year, you’ll see a noticeable difference. Some of that is a young man growing up, and some is his work in the weight room and attention to diet. He’s doing what it takes. Let’s look at him when he should be peaking as an NBA player – whether that’s 25, 26, 27 – and see what he looks like then. It will be greatly different from what he looked like as a rookie. Assuming the size and strength he puts on is done in a controlled and intelligent manner, which it is here, he should have fewer injuries … but some injuries just happen.”
Listed at 6-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Ingram is still more than 30 pounds lighter than Durant was his rookie season, according to NBA.com’s 2007 prospect profile on Durant. But the broader point Peterson is trying to make is that, like Durant, Ingram’s wiry frame shouldn’t be a huge concern going forward.
“We’ll keep working on overall strength. On ankle stability. Any guy with long levers, that ankle is holding up a big structure. Then knee stability, core strength and keep getting the body weight up a little bit. If he performs well and avoids injuries, at the end of the day, we don’t care if he weights 200 or 220 pounds.”
Heading into his third year with the Lakers, Ingram will be looking to the make leap this summer and help lead Los Angeles to their first playoff berth in six years next season. Whether he comes back looking like Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo, expect Ingram to come back ready to compete.
You can follow Christian Rivas on Twitter at @RadRivas.