As we near the beginning of the LeBron James era of the Los Angeles Lakers it is important to remember one of the main reasons signing James was even a possibility; the Lakers young core, but specifically Brandon Ingram.
Ahead of Thursday’s season opener, Magic Johnson joined ESPN’s First Take to discuss some of the impactful pieces of that core.
We hit what I feel is home run in our first draft, and so Lonzo Ball, I think he’s going to be outstanding this season. LeBron has helped his mindset, and Rondo has helped him out a lot. And then I think Kyle Kuzma had a great rookie season, and I think he’s going to step up and have even a better season this season. And then I think Josh Hart, people don’t understand the toughness, the grittiness… He can shoot, but also he’s a winner.
There is no denying that the Lakers have been able to strike gold in the draft in recent years. Especially last season when the added three players that have proven they can be foundational pieces for the future of the franchise. Johnson believes that the team drafted a potential running mate for LeBron James before the new regime arrived in LA.
So we have the right combination of young guys with KCP, but I think the star in the making — and LeBron is really going to help him — is Brandon Ingram. He’s big time. He has the length, he has the size, he has the basketball IQ. So we are really happy.
After Johnson challenged Brandon Ingram to improve as a scorer last year there was a considerable jump in his play in his sophomore season. However, there is still room for more for the 21-year-old. Everyone involved with the organization has raved about Brandon Ingram’s growth as a player this summer and he even believes he has the chance to be an All-Star this year.
There have been glimpses of what Ingram can be during his impressive run this preseason but there are also questions with how he’ll fit next to James. While Ingram has been more effective with the ball in his hands during his young career, the pairing with James did alleviate some of the concerns with their play together in the preseason.
Johnson, along with everyone in the organization, believes in Ingram. Heading into his third season with the help of one of the greatest players of all-time the potential for him becoming a star has skyrocketed.