Culver City Observer -

Lakers Draftee Ingram Is Very Talented, Very Slim, Very Young

 

Last week the Lakers selected Duke freshman Brandon Ingram with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft.

They're happy because the 6-foot-9 forward is a highly regarded prospect who is likely to have an outstanding professional basketball career.

But there are hurdles to overcome.

Most important, the Lakers are adding another very young player to their plans to rebuild following four terrible seasons.

They've been promoting the idea that their most recent draftees, Julius Randle, DeAngelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson are the future of the franchise. But the Lakers won only 21 games two seasons ago and just 17 last season, representing the two worst seasons in their entire history.

Ingram is good but there's a question of how soon he can make an impact in the NBA. Not yet 19, he was the youngest player in the draft and he needs to put on a lot of weight in order to successfully tangle with the bigger forwards in the NBA.

Ingram has intentionally gained 25 pounds in the last year but still weighs less than 200.

"I'm eating everything I can," Ingram said after working out for the Lakers earlier in June. "I weighed 165 in high school but I'm up to 190 now. I don't have a particular diet, I just eat a lot."

Ingram, most likely a small forward, is an accomplished shooter and passer. Some scouts rated him as the best player in the draft, even better than Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick who was chosen by Philadelphia.

But the Lakers will have to sign an important big man in free agency if they expect to compete for a playoff berth in the coming season.

One player they like is Hassan Whiteside, the 27-year-old center of the Miami Heat. Sources say Whiteside wants a maximum contract and will stay with the Heat if they offer it. If not he'll pursue free agency which starts July 1.

The Lakers have an additional $20 million of salary cap room as they pursue free agents. But so do all NBA teams because of the league's new television contract.

Looking far ahead, Ingram could develop into an elite player He draws comparisons to Kevin Durant.

Like Durant, Ingram is an excellent outside shooter. He made 40 per cent of his three-point attempts at Duke.

Whatever the Lakers do they'll have to decide whether or not to keep reserve forward Larry Nance Jr.

He was the least publicized of their recent acquisitions but unlike Randle, Russell and Clarkson he arrived with four years of college experience and that advantage showed up well as a Laker rookie.

Simply, he's more mature than the others.

On the radio broadcast of the draft last Thursday someone said he's more excited about a Laker upcoming season than he's been in five years.

Well, that's reasonable since the last four have been the worst in the franchise's

 

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