Los Angeles Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram turned a corner against the Golden State Warriors
Brandon Ingram laughed when he heard the lighthearted question.
Should Lakers point guard Marcelo Huertas be concerned about the backup point guard slot, given what a great job Ingram did at the point for parts of Wednesday night’s exhibition?
Then he collected himself and offered the kind of measured and serious response he generally does.
“No, he shouldn’t be worried at all,” Ingram said. “He’s a great asset for our team.”
Ingram spoke the morning after his best performance of the exhibition season.
The Lakers are bringing along the 19-year-old slowly, but Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors might have marked a watershed moment for the No. 2 pick in the draft. He was aggressive and confident.
“I was playing a lot faster and I think I got able to slow the game down a little bit,” Ingram said. “I was rebounding the basketball so I got to get on the break, playmake for myself but also for other guys. Guys knocking down shots last night.”
He made seven of 10 shots, two of three from three-point range. He scored a team-high 21 points and had four assists, two steals and a team-high seven rebounds.
“I don’t think it’s too early to say he turned a corner,” Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. “I think that was a great experience for him. I think the type of player he is, he was in this morning again before practice started, getting work in. He’s had a good night. Still decided to get up early, come get his reps, which I think speaks to the player he wants to be.”
For now, Ingram is still being utilized as a reserve, typically backing up veteran small forward Luol Deng. On Wednesday, the Lakers gave Deng a rest and started Nick Young instead. Ingram is spending a lot of time listening to what the veterans around him can teach.
“They give me knowledge each and every day,” he said. “Positions on the floor. How to act when I’m not on the floor. They’re always there for help even if it’s not basketball.”
Survey says ...
In a survey on NBA.com, general managers around the league were asked which players they believed were poised for a breakout season.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker topped the list with 31% of the vote. Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns received 13.8% of the vote, Indiana Pacers forward Myles Turner 10.3% and Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell and Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins 6.9% apiece.
Russell didn’t think much of the poll.
“Don’t matter to me, honestly,” he said. “It’s still up to me to perform. GMs aren’t playing, so gotta play.”
What kind of accolades would mean something to him?
“Most improved player,” Russell said. “MVP. Finals. Championship. Stuff like that.”
Point guard Jose Calderon and center Timofey Mozgov skipped practice while resting injuries.
Mozgov is recovering from a bruised tailbone he suffered on Wednesday against the Warriors. He said afterward that he expected to be ready for Wednesday night’s regular-season opener against the Houston Rockets. He is questionable for Friday’s exhibition against the Suns.
Calderon, who has been dealing with a left calf strain for about a week, will sit out against the Suns, the Lakers said.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli
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