When the Los Angeles Lakers drafted Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, they might not have realized how raw his offensive skill set was.
Playing 79 games for the Lakers in his rookie year, the 6’9”, 190-pound forward posted 9.4 points on 40.2 percent shooting (29.4 percent from three) along with 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 28.8 minutes per contest. While he responded well to an influx in minutes after the All-Star Game during the month of March, averaging 13.5 points on 51.7 percent shooting (30.0 percent from three) in 35.5 minutes, shooting was Ingram’s major priority this summer.
Working with assistant coach Brian Keefe, Ingram explained what he has been working on this offseason and revealed why we should all expect different results after the ball leaves his hands this year.
“For me it was the mechanics of the shot. Coach Keefe and I did a good job of just trying to come here every day and work. We started out with form shooting. Trying to keep myself from shooting over my head. Trying to find different ways that I feel comfortable shooting the basketball the right way. That was the first thing. The second thing was to get my body right. Of course, repetitions of everything I’d do in the game, but getting my body right in the weight room. Trying to eat a little bit better and eat a little bit more,” Ingram told Mike Trudell of NBA.com.
He also pointed to exactly what he was doing wrong mechanically last season.
“I was shooting over my head. With my long arms, it was like a slingshot. Coming from college to the NBA, I was only about 180 pounds, so I was trying to push the ball to the rim from the 3-point line. I think I’ve gotten strong enough now where I feel comfortable shooting the ball from the 3-point line now. As I keep getting stronger, it’s going to be natural,” the 20 year old predicted.
Part of the reason why he had to change his shot was because he oddly grew a couple of inches since the end of last season.
“… I think I’ve made a big jump. I feel way more comfortable shooting the basketball, especially shooting the right way. We’ve worked on it and worked on it, and we started playing a little bit. We tried to see how I felt playing in games," he said. "It felt good at first but I wasn’t making a lot of shots. But I kept playing, and it’s been falling. Kept getting more comfortable, more confident. I’m feeling better from the 3-point line.”
Along with Lonzo Ball, Ingram represents what could be a very bright future for the Lakers. Given his wingspan and defensive acumen, he could very well develop into a Kawhi Leonard-type of talent if and only if he can figure out how to make a positive difference on the offensive end of the floor.
Judging by his comments above, he doesn’t want anyone to write off his offensive abilities yet and thinks big things are ahead.