Before the draft, Brandon Ingram was compared to Kevin Durant — a skinny but skilled scorer at the college level. That comparison was radically unfair to Ingram (like Ben Simmons to LeBron James), implying a level of expectations that is simply not likely — Durant is the best pure scorer in the game (unless that’s his teammate). Ingram may turn out to be very good, an All-Star level player, but to mention him with Durant is to put the bar too high.
But Durant is willing to help him get there.
Durant got a closeup look at Ingram when both were in Las Vegas this summer — Durant with Team USA, Ingram with the USA select team, and speaking at shootaround before the Warriors play the Lakers Friday, Durant told Mark Medina of the Orange County Register he’d be happy to help Ingram grow.
“I’ve seen the skills. I’ve seen the length, the effort and the competitiveness. He looks like a quiet, reserved and nonchalant kid. But when he steps in between the lines, he just wants to play,” Durant said. “I have nothing but good things to say and nothing but support for him. I’ll be here no matter what, trying to encourage him and helping him out through the process.”
Durant has already given Ingram some advice.
“He was telling me to be patient and not rush everything,” the Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick said. “When guys like him tell me that, I believe in him. He’s putting on weight and is doing great in this league.”
Putting on weight, developing his game, finding how that game fits into the NBA will take time. Ingram’s getting about 17 minutes a night off the bench for the Lakers and is showing flashes, but has work to do to get his shot consistent (especially from three). Ingram has to put in the work, the Lakers — and Lakers’ fans — need to be patient. It’s a process.
And Durant will pitch in when asked.