The vast majority of the conversations about and surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers right now have to do with who deserves how much blame for the way things have gone. Fingers are pointing all over the place and in every direction, but one thing that has flown under the radar through all this is how well Brandon Ingram handled himself.
Ingram told Bill Oram of The Athletic that all the other recent nonsense — including the crazy trade deadline that saw his name bandied about in countless reported Anthony Davis trade proposals — that surrounded the Lakers while he’s played the best basketball of his career never really phased him:
“I wasn’t ever like sucked in to none of that stuff,” he said of the trade deadline drama. “I’ve been through too much in my life to worry about something like that.”
It’s stuff like this that the Lakers will miss when Magic Johnson ships him out in some shortsighted move for the very serious crime of not having been drafted by this current front office.
In all seriousness, Ingram is one of the few people involved in this entire ordeal who can legitimately claim that he has a relatively low amount of egg on his face compared to others in the organization. He didn’t ask to be traded or mope when things didn’t go his way [looks sideways at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee]. Ingram didn’t “exercise player agency” by pressuring to have his teammates moved behind the scenes (hi, LeBron James).
No, Ingram just took care of what he could and, to a large extent, flipped the narrative on himself as a player and prospect, and did that at a time when people both inside and outside the organization were indirectly claiming that he and his younger teammates couldn’t handle the distractions that came with the trade deadline.
Ingram deserves a ton of praise for his handling of all that. He’s found a way to turn himself — at least for this most recent stretch — into a legitimately interesting prospect who is averaging 23.2 points on 56.4 percent shooting to go with 5.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists over his last 15 games.
Ingram’s no-nonsense approach to life got him drafted second overall. It’s helped him deal with one of the most frustrating seasons in Lakers history and come out the other end of it looking okay, compared to others with much more experience in the NBA who went through this year with him.
Ingram’s attitude will help him succeed no matter where he spends the rest of his career, but his production through all the distractions should be enough to prove he should remain a Laker long-term, no matter who drafted him.