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Swingman Brandon Ingram is entering his third NBA season and has already proven he can score. But now the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for him to do more.
That would be more defense from a player that has all the tools to succeed at that end of the court. He’s 6-foot-9, remarkable athletic and all arms and legs.
He will remain a key player in the Lakers’ lineup, even with the addition of superstar forward LeBron James and several other older veterans.
So far, coach Luke Walton and those older veterans are liking how Ingram is finding his stride and fitting in just fine with the new-look Lakers. The list includes point guard Rajon Rondo.
“You don’t think much of him as a defensive player, at least I didn’t, but for this team in particular it’s big for us,” Rondo said, via the Los Angeles Times. “He should lead us in steals, deflections, blocks. He can do it all. … I’m very impressed by the way he plays defensively. He’s only getting stronger. He’s 21 years old … should be one of the next best defensive players we have in our league.”
Ingram admitted he is feeling more confident at the defensive end of the floor. A big key, he said, has been being more vocal.
“You see Rajon Rondo talking every day, he never stops talking,” Ingram told reporters. “LeBron never stops talking. I think that’s where it comes from. You know exactly where you’re supposed to be and it helps a lot.”
Ingram averaged 16.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 59 games last season. Offensively, he is likely to continue that progress, particularly while playing next to gifted passers such James and second-year point guard Lonzo Ball.
Now, the Lakers want to see Ingram really bring it at the other end, too.