For a good portion of the summer, I’ve been receiving tweets or seeing comments on at least a weekly basis asking some variation of “where is Brandon Ingram?” or “why isn’t he at the Lakers practice facility?”
Well, we don’t have our answer to that, although his absence was likely because Ingram was elsewhere in the country training with Micah Lancaster, the man who helped Victor Oladipo train before his breakout season last year.
What we do have now, though, are photos of Ingram, back in the UCLA Health Training Center getting ready for next season:
Ingram making a reappearance in El Segundo is unlikely to end trade speculation about the young forward, at least until Kawhi Leonard seems definitively content in Toronto or the trade deadline passes.
Still, at least Ingram visibly showing up in Lakers gear will dull the worries of many fans who thought he might be shipped out for a superstar this summer, and is also yet the latest evidence that he’s been working out like crazy this offseason.
If Ingram’s work translates into the improvements he, the Lakers and fans are surely hoping for, then he could take even further strides forward in his development than he did last year and hit his full ceiling, which would be huge for the Lakers’ reaching their own full potential.
This team is a reasonably known quantity, as it’s fairly clear the types of players that Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart can be or are. It’s similarly unlikely that LeBron James takes his games to even further heights. Ingram is the Lakers’ X-Factor. If he can hit the type of level of his raw potential suggests is possible — if not certain — then he could be the one to put the Lakers over the top to knock off Golden State, at least eventually if not this year.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.