The one player you can’t miss on the court regardless of how high in the rafters your seats are at Staples Center will finally have the spotlight as talent, preparation and a burgeoning ego culminate into what will be a fascinating breakout season.
Ever since LeBron decided to take his talents out west, fans and pundits have been combing every corner of the basketball world for a co-star that would pair a ring with the promise that normally follows King James.
Thankfully, the Lakers have a homegrown talent who is ready to grow up.
The numbers suggests Ingram is trending in the right direction. He improved his points-per-game average by 6.7, scoring 16.1 points per game in an injury-laden season last year. Both his field goal and three-point percentage saw marked improvement, hitting .470 and .390 respectively.
Mirin Fader, writing for Bleacher Report’s B/R Mag vertical, portraits Ingram on the cusp of a pivotal season.
It’s a deep dive into one of the more stoic Lakers. One of the more immediate takeaways is Ingram as the perfectionist, a label that describes what is both a blessing and a curse.
His unrelenting drive keeps him in the gym for longer than most but it also hinders an aggression coaches hope to not just nurture but overtly exploit as the team looks for its second All-Star to play with James.
Sometimes he is too perfect, almost plodding in his method. Appropriately, LeBron James comes at the perfect time to spark an assertive offensive demeanor and, importantly, ease the pressure on a 21-year-old still trying to find his place in the league. Ingram, in his third year, can finally be Ingram.
Fader gets Ingram to explain his psyche as he enters the next campaign.
The only voice that’s steady going through my head is mine. Like, You gotta do this right. Every day I try to be superhuman in whatever I do. I feel ready now.
Pressed by Fader as to whether this is his moment to breakout, Ingram offers a fitting answer. It’s confident at the same time as it is reserved, much like an Ingram drive to the hoop.
I feel like it is. And for me to say that right now, like, I feel arrogant. But that’s why I would never say it. I stay humble. But in the back of my head, I think what keeps me going is, I know that I’m going to kill you.
If Ingram has a touch of uncertainty, the people around him are bold in their predictions. In the same piece Jerry Stackhouse, who has both played in the NBA and coached Ingram, offers a promising assessment: “Within the next five years, I think Brandon could be one of the top five or 10 players in the game.”
The key, for the Lakers, is whether flooding the roster with wisdom and tenacity will help speed the process.
James, for his part, certainly sees something special in Ingram. He recently extolled, via ESPN, “Look out, I think he’s next.”
James is also conf