Much has been expected of Brandon Ingram since the Los Angeles Lakers selected him with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. As Ben Simmons has gone on to establish himself as a bonafide star, Ingram is still working toward finding his footing in the league.
He took a leap forward last season, particularly when filling in for Lonzo Ball and emerging as an effective point guard. Ingram was identified by many as the member of the Lakers young core who figured to benefit most from playing alongside LeBron James.
However, he struggled in what’s been limited time on the court with James. As the 16-year veteran and Rajon Rondo remain sidelined by injuries, more responsibilities were handed to Ball and Ingram.
They’ve struggled with consistency and after a disappointing effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves, both were publicly criticized by Lakers head coach Luke Walton.
Ingram later revealed he and Walton speak frequently, even for instances that aren’t meant to motivate the third-year forward, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Me and Luke have numerous talks about numerous things. I think it’s always motivational talks to see what I can do on the basketball floor. It’s not just what he said to y’all. It’s constant talk of how I can be better, how I can be more consistent. Whatever it is, I always just try to take the challenge and just try to be better.”
Ingram and Ball also spoke ahead of facing the Dallas Mavericks, arriving at an understanding they must set the tone for the team while James and Rondo are out. Whether motivated by Walton or on their own accord, Ball and Ingram put forth stellar performances in a comeback win.
Ingram scored a season-high 29 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. More importantly was that Ingram avoided falling into the habit of over-dribbling or being hesitant to attack in the halfcourt.
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