Lottery pick to begin pro career as reserve
The Lakers stumbled to a 17-65 finish in 2015-16. Yet that doesn’t mean they’re willing to just hand over the keys to the No. 2 overall pick in June’s NBA draft.
With training camp getting underway in El Segundo, new head coach Luke Walton and general manager Mitch Kupchak are easing former Duke sensation Brandon Ingram into the proceedings. That also means the 6-foot-9 power forward is unlikely to start when the regular season commences on Oct. 26.
In any event, Los Angeles has a massive amount of work to do to regain respectability – and any sort of headway with handicappers. Online sports book Bovada.lv currently gives the legendary franchise odds of +20000 to capture the Larry O’Brien trophy. Only three Western Conference squads – Denver, Sacramento and Phoenix – face a tougher climb.
While Ingram should receive ample to adjust to life in the pros, Walton needs immediate contributions from D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle. Said trio, along with 12-year veteran Luol Deng, will form the bedrock of this season’s club. Center Timofey Mozgov could also wiggle his way into the core group after arriving from Cleveland.
Down the line, though, it’s pretty fascinating to size up Ingram’s potential. Throw those ordinary Summer League stats (11.8 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting), and concentrate on the skills that made him the ACC Freshman of the Year as a Blue Devil. His versatility and wingspan are marvelous, and the aggressiveness at the rim’s a given once he fills out that lithe frame a bit.