Larry Nance Jr. is not a talent evaluator by nature. He’s an NBA player with one year of pro experience.
His comments on Brandon Ingram, though, were worth noting Wednesday as the Lakers concluded their second day of practice for summer league.
“He’s the real deal,” Nance Jr. said. “I called my dad the first day after the first practice and I said, ‘Hey, I think this kid’s going to be all right.’ I told Pete to watch him. Pete’s my younger brother.”
What about that reedy physique, the 190 pounds (at most) stacked up on six feet nine inches?
“He is skinny. He’s a frail kid. But he’s tough,” Nance Jr. said. “On screens, he’ll hit you. On rebounds he’ll hit you. He gives you what he’s got and that immediately takes away the soft label. Or the tiny label, I guess.”
The second overall pick in the NBA draft, Ingram also picked up positive early reviews from Lakers Coach Luke Walton.
“This is a grown-man’s league, but as far as knowing how to play the game and the skill set from being able to handle the ball, bring it up, post-ups, his defense — he’s been all over the place defensively, getting deflections for us,” Walton said. “Very excited about the way he’s played so far.”
Walton scored some points with players Wednesday by taking part in drills and even lofting some three-point shots.
“I’m a fan. He’s a players’ coach,” Nance Jr. said, using a subtle comparison to last season’s team coached by Byron Scott. “Different feel and it’s fun.”
The Lakers begin summer league play Friday against New Orleans in Las Vegas. They will play at least five games, with Ingram, Nance Jr. and D’Angelo Russell their main headliners.
Lakers officials are shaking their heads at Nick Young’s near-injury when a flaring firework exploded in his right hand on the 4th of July.
“You would hope that things like that don’t happen,” Walton said. “Professional athletes, you kind of need your hands, but I’m glad that he’s OK and hopefully he leaned from that mistake.”
The Lakers do not plan to discipline Young for the incident, which was first reported by TMZ.com.
Lakers forward Julius Randle practiced with the summer league team Wednesday but did not plan to play in Las Vegas....Second-round pick Ivica Zubac did not practice Wednesday because of paperwork issues, according to a team official. The Bosnian-born center is expected to play in summer league, Walton said.