During Brandon Ingram’s three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he showed plenty of promise as a building block of the team’s future.
Now playing for the New Orleans Pelicans, Ingram reflected on his time with the Lakers and noted how the chaotic situation surrounding the team led him to feel depression as a rookie.
Michael Lee of The Athletic looked at Ingram’s fast start with the Pelicans after being dealt there as part of the Lakers’ deal to acquire Anthony Davis. That was in contrast to his introduction with the Lakers three years earlier.
“Ingram moves around these days with a confidence that he admits took some time to achieve, but only after he got out of his own way,” Lee wrote. “Joining the post-Bryant Lakers was a challenge because little hierarchal structure could be established, and players were often competing with each other to determine who would be the go-to guy. That environment during his rookie season wasn’t conducive to success, and Ingram’s lack of aggressiveness on the floor made it easy for him to be overlooked or pushed aside. In came doubt.”
Ingram was the second overall selection by the Lakers in 2016, which put plenty of pressure on him to help get the team back to their former level of greatness. However, the first of three losing seasons delivered some culture shock to the rookie, even as his on-court performance showed improvement.
“Some nights, I’d go to the gym and lose sight of how to play basketball,” Ingram said. “Losing basketball games. From four state championships. To going to Duke. Winning there. That was miserable there. I’m in a little whirlwind, my first year. Then, I’m in depression. I’m going home, like, ‘Damn. I’m sorry as shit,'” said Ingram, adding that the change occurred “by not fighting myself. Letting the game flow. Letting it come to me. I think when I let that happen, I just played the game the right way, and it worked out for me.”
After averaging 15.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists during his time with the Lakers, Ingram’s numbers have shown dramatic improvement during the Pelicans’ first seven games. In those contests, the veteran has averaged 29.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. In addition, he’s connecting on 55.2 percent of his shots from the field.
In the early portion of the 2019-20 season, the Lakers have no reason to second guess their decision to give up Ingram in the deal. That’s because they have a league-best 6-1 record entering their home game Friday night against the Miami Heat.