Despite four consecutive losing seasons, there is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers entering the 2017-18 NBA regular season. Both Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are expected to lead the team while also trying to live up to the high expectations of being selected second overall in their respective drafts.
However, the Lakers have struggled thus far in the preseason. Ball has sat out a majority of the games while nursing an ankle injury. As for Ingram, his inefficient shooting could draw further concern should it continue into the season. Head coach Luke Walton believes his second-year forward is trying to prove himself too much according to Bill Oram of OC Register:
“He wants to be great so bad and he’s worked so hard that he wants to show everyone how good he is,” Walton said. “I think because of that he’s had some possessions where he definitely is trying to do too much.”
Ingram also struggled early in his rookie season while still adjusting to the speed and physicality of the professional league. His performance during the second half of the season was much better and hinted more towards the star the former Duke product could become.
Internally, the Lakers are hoping Ingram becomes one of the next Laker greats to lead the team to a title. President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson has called him untouchable while also expecting him to be the teams leading scorer.
Even with Ingram’s preseason struggles, all hope is not lost for the Lakers or the second-year forward. He still just 20 years old and still has plenty of room to grow.