Draymond Green says he isn’t sure 2020 Lakers would’ve won title if they had kept Brandon Ingram over Kyle Kuzma

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green had an interesting take on the trade that sent former Los Angeles Lakers player Brandon Ingram and others to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Anthony Davis a few seasons ago.

The Lakers ended up moving Ingram, who has made an All-Star team since the deal, instead of forward Kyle Kuzma to get Davis. While many believe Ingram has become the better player, Green thinks that Kuzma was integral to the Lakers winning a title in the 2019-20 season.

In fact, Green shared with Kuzma that he thinks Los Angeles wouldn’t have won the title had it kept Ingram instead.

“The thing that people don’t realize is when you make decisions like that — so some people who don’t understand winning…would say, ‘But Brandon Ingram has been an All-Star, so that was the wrong move,’” Green said. “But if you understand winning, what I say is, ‘But they won a championship.’

“So, regardless of what your thoughts could be on that topic, they won a championship, and that automatically trumps everything.”

Green explained that Kuzma and Ingram have very different skill sets. Kuzma, who took a smaller role when Davis joined the team, was an integral part defensively and as a shooter on the offensive end.

“I’m not sure that team still wins if they keep B.I. over you because of the skill sets,” Green told Kuzma. “All of these pieces have to fit in. What you brought to that team…you and K.C.P. (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) were the shooters.”

There’s no doubt that Ingram and Kuzma are both solid NBA players in their own ways, but Green clearly believes Kuzma’s fit alongside James and Davis was better. It’s easy to look back and say it was the right move to trade Ingram, as Los Angeles did win a title.

Kuzma is no longer with the Lakers, as he was dealt to the Washington Wizards last offseason in a package for guard Russell Westbrook.

The University of Utah product played well in a bigger role in Washington. He averaged 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2021-22 season while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Even though Ingram has made a leap toward NBA stardom, the Lakers certainly shouldn’t regret the Davis trade since it brought the team back to the top of the NBA.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.