In LeBron James’ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, they had promising young players such as Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, but they were unable to make the playoffs.
The following summer, L.A. traded Ball, Ingram, Josh Hart and other assets to the New Orleans Pelicans for superstar big man Anthony Davis.
Together, James and Davis led the Lakers to an NBA championship in the league’s Orlando, Fla. bubble in 2020, but former Golden State Warriors big man Festus Ezeli feels the team made a mistake in trading away Ingram.
I know Lakers won a bubble chip but Everytime i see Brandon Ingram hoop i can’t help but think how much of a mistake it was to trade him
— Festus Ezeli (@FestusEzeli) April 20, 2022
Since leaving Los Angeles, Ingram has played very well for the Pelicans. During the 2021-22 regular season, he averaged 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. He led them to the playoffs by putting up 30 points on 14-of-21 shooting from the field in their second play-in game versus the Los Angeles Clippers.
On Tuesday, he poured in 37 points, 11 boards and nine assists as New Orleans upset the top-seeded Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of their first-round series.
But as good as Ingram is, Davis is simply one of pro basketball’s top players at both ends of the floor when he is healthy.
In 2020, he helped anchor the Lakers’ staunch defense, which helped them win the title against the Miami Heat in six games.
It’s hard to imagine the Lakers having the same type of success that year with Ingram, who is not on the same level defensively as Davis and hadn’t been to the postseason yet.
As long as James and Davis are together and healthy, the Lakers will continue to have a puncher’s chance at going far in the playoffs each year.