The Los Angeles Lakers’ youth movement is about to begin, with back-to-back second overall picks D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram poised to create a tandem as talented as L.A. has seen since Kobe’s glory days. But while Russell has already shown meaningful signs he could be a very good-to-excellent player, just how good Ingram can be remains a total mystery until he takes the court in the regular season.
That’s not to say there aren’t already positive indicators, though. Kevin Durant, the closest and most obvious physical comparison to Ingram, called his young doppelganger “like looking in a mirror,” and more encouragingly, “a little farther along than I was at that stage.” But most of the focus on Ingram’s development (especially the Durant comparisons) are on his potential as a shooter and scorer. And while that potential is lofty, it’s also incomplete. In order for Ingram to truly be transcendent, he also needs to leverage his prodigious length on the defensive end.
“When I played with the USA Select Team, all those guys were giving me advice. Even guys playing pickup coming to the Lakers facility. (Including) Andre Iguodala.
“I watch a lot of his play defensively. He’s a great defensive guy,” Ingram told Cowherd about Iguodala. “I even text with him sometimes, and he just tells me it’s going to be a process, but I have a chance to be special on the defensive end and offensive end. “He’s long. He has a 7-foot-3 wingspan. He’s smart. He gets his hands on a lot of deflections, and he just plays the right way.”
Every story we hear about Iguodala shows what a nice and open person he is — his friendship with Durant was reported to play a big role in recruiting KD to the Warriors — so that he’d give advice to a young… well, not quite “rival,” but certainly an opponent, is both impressive and unsurprising. Also, Lakers coach Luke Walton is intimately familiar with Iguodala’s preparation and approach to the game from his own time on the Dubs’ bench, so if Iguodala is to be Ingram’s model, the rookie has all the help he needs to follow in Iggy’s footsteps.
(H/t CBS Sports)