After taking a leap forward in his sophomore season, much was expected of Brandon Ingram heading into a third campaign. Particularly with the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James. Most identified Ingram as the likely candidate to emerge as a second star on the Los Angeles Lakers roster.
But the process of developing chemistry with James was interrupted almost immediately, as Ingram received a four-game suspension for his role in a fight with Chris Paul and the Houston Rockets. He then missed seven games because of a sprained ankle.
Ingram was three games into playing with James when the 16-year veteran suffered a strained groin that’s now knocked him out for an indefinite period of time. The Lakers also lost Rajon Rondo, who required surgery to repair a torn ligament that was a result of a Grade 3 sprain of his right ring finger.
Without two primary ballhandlers, Lakers head coach Luke Walton has leaned more heavily on Lonzo Ball and Ingram. And though the absences of James and Rondo might create obvious voids, Ingram was adamant he isn’t feeling added pressure.
“Absolutely not,” answered Ingram when asked if he’s now under more stress. “You work on things in the summer to be comfortable on the basketball floor. I think all the guys are always in the mindset of, ‘Next player up,’ so there’s no pressure at all.”
Ingram previously detailed how he intended to play while James and Rondo are out, outlining means in which he could further assert himself.
“I just try to be more aggressive, try to put guys in their spots,” he reiterated after the Lakers’ loss to the Clippers.
“I think I have to do a better job of knocking down my free throws and not turning over the basketball so much. I have to just do more all around on the basketball floor.”
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