Brandon Ingram Has Started Turning the Corner for Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Midway through the third period of the Los Angeles D-Fenders' 123-121 Saturday victory over the Grand Rapids Drive, 19-year-old rookie Brandon Ingram arrived confused at the Los Angeles Lakers' El Segundo practice facility.

The Lakers had the day off after games Thursday and Friday night, but Ingram came in early anyway to work with assistant Brian Keefe. After taking a break, the 6'9" forward returned later that night to the Toyota Sports Center, only to find the court was occupied.

"I really didn't have any idea that they were playing," Ingram said of the Lakers' NBA Development League affiliate. "I just came in to get some shots up."

He settled instead at a nearby gym to put in his extra time.

"It's down the street, the Bay Club or something," Ingram said. "[It's] about five minutes from the facility."

This sort of conflict won't be an issue next year when the Lakers move a few blocks to the UCLA Health Training Center, their new home with two full-sized courts that is nearing completion. Regardless, it's a nice problem to have: Ingram's dedication is starting to pay off.

Taken second in the 2016 NBA draft, the Duke Blue Devils product has struggled at times to adapt to the physicality of the league. Halfway through the season, Ingram is leading all rookies with 27.6 minutes a game but is averaging just 7.9 points while shooting 36.9 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from three-point range.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old center Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is the favorite to win Rookie of the Year and is scoring 19.4 points a night after missing his first two seasons with foot injuries. His seasoning is showing.

At a wiry 190 pounds, Ingram may not be as physically mature as Embiid, but he's beginning to look like a player worthy of a No. 2 selection. Over the past three games, Ingram has reached double figures, and over the last four, h...

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