On the season, Brandon Ingram is shooting a mere 29.1 percent from 3-point range. Fortunately, he’s only taking 1.8 per game, coincidentally, the same number he was taking last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, when he shot 39 percent from deep.
Despite those struggles, Luke Walton is neither concerned about his shooting, nor his ability to produce despite that deficiency and found an explanation for them.
“He’s been in and out of the lineup,” Walton told reporters before Wednesday night’s big win against Detroit. “It’s hard getting to that level and when you’re constantly in and out, finding that rhythm is a little more challenging. Hopefully we can keep him healthy from here on out and he’ll continue to work on it and find his rhythm again.”
To a certain extent, this makes sense. But Ingram is shooting basically as well as he shot his rookie season (29.4 percent). Calling last season’s 39 percent an outlier is unfair, but these kinds of swings can occur when a players takes as few threes as he does.
When asked about how many threes Ingram takes and whether the Lakers might do more to get him a few more attempts, Walton said that’d be a misuse of this third-year wing.
“No. We want him if it’s in the flow and Lonzo’s pushing it and he drives and kicks it out to Brandon, we want him catching and shooting. If they’re sagging off of him as part of their game plan, we want him catching and shooting. But for what we need right now, we need him in attack mode looking to get downhill much more than we need him being a weakside shooter,” Walton explained.
The last two games, Walton has employed Ingram more as a secondary creator while the offense flows through Lonzo Ball. It’s been a nice change of pace for a team severely lacking in half-court pace. In this role, Ingram has been able to benefit from defenses having to rotate over to him, opening up his abilities as a slasher and allowing him to get downhill as Walton alluded to.
What’s important here isn’t necessarily exactly how Ingram is useful within the offense, but that he remains so consistently. It would obviously be ideal that Ingram’s shot comes around, but as of right now, the Lakers have momentum, and the top priority is to make sure that continues.