A year ago at this time, Brandon Ingram was one of the projected top-2 draft picks along with Ben Simmons out of LSU. The Duke forward knew he would go early and when the NBA Draft Lottery came around, he could start narrowing down the list of teams he would likely end up on.
Simmons went first to the Sixers and Ingram went second to the Lakers, where he struggled at first in finding his role within the Lakers offense. Ingram cracked double-digits in scoring just eight times before January in 36 games. He had seven such games in the month of January, but consistency remained an issue until late in February when things clicked and he rattled off 18 double-digit scoring games in his last 21 as his confidence and comfort level grew.
Ingram’s job this offseason is to manage to build on that late season success and continue to improve his body and his game so he can be a key piece for the Lakers in 2017-18. On Monday, a day prior to the NBA Draft Lottery when the Lakers will learn their fate of either keeping or losing their draft pick, Ingram spoke with DIME Magazine about his first season in the NBA, how advice from Magic Johnson helped turn his season around, his knee’s health, what it’s like watching the lottery as a prospect, playing for Luke Walton, and understanding fans wanting the team to lose late in the season.
What was your first season in the NBA like compared to what you expected coming into the league?
I’d say it was kind of like a whirlwind for me. From 32 games to 82 games, some nights playing well, earlier in the season, some nights being lost as ever. Just ended up figuring it out, so overall it was definitely a learning curve.