The Lakers gave up on D’Angelo Russell too soon, and now might be regretting the decision to keep Brandon Ingram.
If he’s not able to meet high expectations placed on him in the off-season, do not be shocked to see the Lakers at the very least explore trade options for Brandon Ingram. Los Angeles had a chance to include him in a trade package with D’Angelo Russell several times last year, only to pull the trigger on Russell in a deal that sent him to Brooklyn.
According to an article from Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the hype surrounding Ingram has to be put in its place. Instead of the 20 points per game that Magic Johnson told him he’d have to reach in order for the season not to be disappointing, Pincus writes that the expectation of around 15 points per game is “optimistic.”
Per the report:
"One team source acknowledged that expectations may have been set too high for Ingram—that even 14 or 15 points per game seemed optimistic in the short term."
This comes at a time where rookie Kyle Kuzma hasn’t hesitated to take center stage and take the preseason and Summer League by storm. He helped guide the Lakers when Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball weren’t playing in Las Vegas, and has shown flashes of what he can do at multiple positions.
The Lakers need to take this moment to realize that Brandon Ingram needs more development before moving forward, and they can’t continue to act like nothing is wrong. Even Ingram is aware of the struggles that he’s having, and they are all definitely not attributed to the fact that he needs to get physically bigger.
There’s issues with his shot, not getting enough points to be a determining factor, mixed with the potential for superstar addition in the summer at Ingram’s position. It’s okay moving forward for the team, mostly because of the reality that Kuzma can fill Ingram’s spot in the lineup for the time being.
But this only amplifies the need for a guy like Paul George if you’re in the shoes of Magic Johnson.