As the No. 2 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, Brandon Ingram joins a Lakers squad loaded with young talent and an eye toward the future. Normally, being such a highly-touted prospect comes with a lot of expectations and responsibilities, but it’s looking more and more like the organization will bring Ingram along slowly during his rookie season.
The Lakers also signed free agent Luol Deng this offseason, and when training camp opened on Monday, new coach Luke Walton confirmed the possibility he floated earlier this summer that the veteran forward might start over the incoming rookie. Ingram, for his part, is taking it all in stride. Via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
“If it was given, it wouldn’t drive me as much to be the best player I can be,” Ingram said at Lakers’ media day on Monday at the team’s practice facility. “So I’m just coming off the bench and showing I can be one of the best players or one of the best players on the floor. It gives me motivation to work hard each and every day.”
If you’re a Lakers fan, it’s exactly the type of response you want to hear. The last thing they need is more interpersonal turmoil. And Ingram will definitely benefit from playing behind a savvy vet like Deng, who in his prime was considered one of the better two-players in the NBA. Still, it likely won’t be long before Ingram works his way into the starting lineup. He’s a core member of a group the team hopes will boost them back into contention for the foreseeable future.