Editor’s Note: The following article is parody (I think).
The Los Angeles Lakers are in dire need of a superstar. It’s no surprise that there is a void where the great Kobe Bryant once stood.
Does the player to fill that void already exist on the roster? The Lakers sure hope so. They have invested multiple high draft picks to rebuild a team that has been in the basement of the NBA for far too long.
That player could be Brandon Ingram. The Duke alum drafted second overall this season is seen as one of the most high-potential players in this class. His combination of shooting, length, and work ethic has increased expectations for the 19-year-old.
But those expectations have grown exponentially due to the negligence of the Los Angeles Lakers. This franchise, one of the most successful in league history, has placed itself in a difficult position and has set itself up for disaster and disappointment.
They have placed the burden of using Bryant’s old locker at STAPLES Center firmly on the feeble and frail shoulders of Ingram.
How can the Lakers expect this young teenager to live up to this pressure? How can they expect him to ever reach the pinnacle of greatness that was experienced by that locker before and every game and also at halftime?
It is an unequivocally tragic decision by the Purple and Gold to place this unfair burden on their new pick. There is literally no other possible outcome other than disappointment; Ingram will likely join the long list of busts drafted by the Lakers, including D’Angelo “The Rat” Russell.
How else do you explain Ingram’s struggles to start his rookie campaign? His first three preseason games in the purple and gold have featured scoring outputs of two, six, and four points, respectively. That is NOT superstar production.
Ingram was a respected shooter in college – an offensive juggernaut, by some standards – and he is now struggling to get the ball in the hoop? Something doesn’t add up.
The Lakers should take a page out of the Philadelphia 76ers’ book. The Sixers have done nothing but lower expectations. Head coach Brett Brown started doing that before the draft, calling Ben Simmons some variation of LeBron James. More recently, Brown said Joel Embiid, the 2014 draft pick who has yet to play a single game, has the “it” factor that Tim Duncan used to possess.
The Sixers are smartly getting out ahead of any potential issues. By comparing their two prized rookies to those scrubs, they are lowering whatever expectations their fans may have for a previously ten-win team.
Speaking of Duncan, the newly-retired Spur has passed his locker (and by proxy, the torch) to David Lee. A smart decision by the smartest and most respected franchise, the move allows the burden of carrying Duncan’s legacy to fall on Lee – a proven all-star who can handle that pressure.
Franchises like the Spurs and especially the Sixers are smartly handling their next-generation stars. They are bringing them along slowly without the pressure of improving upon disappointing seasons placed solely on them.
Meanwhile, the Lakers go into the post-Kobe Bryant era with the weight of the franchise placed on the skinny frame of one young man, Brandon Ingram. We can only hope Ivica Zubac can carry the load for both of them.