Brandon Ingram Would Be Perfect Weapon for LA Lakers in Modern NBA

Toward the conclusion of Brandon Ingram’s initial media scrum in Los Angeles, the lanky, prodigiously gifted prospect—who in all likelihood will be selected by the Lakers with the second pick during Thursday’s draft—was asked about Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant. 

The physical resemblance invites comparison. Up close, Ingram’s 7’3” wingspan appears like a dozen whiffle ball bats are duct-taped end-to-end across his chest. Nearly 10 years ago, Durant looked the same way. 

“I hear it a lot,” Ingram said. “Of course, he is way, way ahead of me right now. But that’s where I want to be.”

For obvious reasons, this is all thrilling for the Lakers. Acquiring a prospect who may come close to replicating Durant’s production over the next decade, starting on a cost-controlled rookie-scale contract, is a coup. Theoretically, it is the next best thing to actually signing Durant in free agency. 

Both players are built for the modern game, with bodies and jump shots that enable the type of versatility treasured more and more throughout the NBA every year. 

Durant was a candescent superhero during his only year at Texas. Ingram’s freshman year at Duke was impressive, but not on the same level. Durant averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, shot 47.3 percent from the floor and made 40.4 percent of his threes. 

In similar minutes, Ingram averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 boards, shooting 44.2 percent from the floor while sinking 41 percent from the outside. Raw numbers, a small sample size and tricky variables make a direct comparison silly, and the deeper you dive into their statistical blueprint, the less it makes sense to put their names in the same sentence. 

But that doesn't mean Ingram can't be the most fascinating player in this year's draft class. ...

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