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Brandon Ingram responds to question about replacing Kobe at Lakers

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The Los Angeles Lakers are entering a new era as they make plans for the 2016-17 NBA season.

For the first time in 20 years, they are tipping off campaign preparations without the familiar face of Kobe Bryant in the locker room.

One man the famous franchise hopes can help fill the void left behind by the future Hall of Famer is Brandon Ingram, the man selected second overall in this year's NBA Draft. That's quite a lot of pressure for an 18-year-old rookie.

Speaking yesterday as the Lakers officially introduced him and fellow 2016 draft pick Ivaca Zubac, however, the former Duke star seemed to revel in the pressure associated with filling Bryant's shoes:

"I saw where my locker was, and I definitely knew it was Kobe's locker," Ingram told reporters gathered at the Lakers' facility on Tuesday afternoon.

"I know [general manager] Mitch [Kupchak] told me I had some big shoes to fill when I came in here, but I liked it. I like the pressure that's on me right now. It's going to motivate me to do good things on the court. It's all good pressure for me."

"I like the pressure that's on me right now. It's going to motivate me to do good things on the court. It's all good pressure for me."

NCAA Basketball Tournament - West Regional - Duke v Oregon

With Kobe's small forward spot in the lineup available following his retirement, Ingram has a great opportunity to make the position his own during the upcoming season - if he can fend off competition from veterans on the roster.

And, while there aren't many people expecting the 6 foot 9 inch, 196-pound rookie to reach Kobe levels of play right off the bat, the young star is confident that he will be able to replicate the form that had him competing for the number one overall draft pick this summer:

"I think if you can score the ball, you can play at any level," Ingram said. "I don't think it's a big adjustment for me. Just playing against stronger guys, I know I have to adjust a little

"Just playing against stronger guys, I know I have to adjust a little bit, like I did at the college level."

Replacing Kobe Bryant is a thankless task for any player, but Ingram certainly appears to have the right mix of confidence and humility that means he could be an instant hit with the Lakers fan base.

BASKET-US-BRYANT

If, in 2016-17, he can get anywhere near the 17.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game he averaged in his one year in college basketball, he will be well on his way to helping the franchise ease the transition into the post-Kobe years.

Topics:
NBA Draft
NBA
Western Conference
NBA Playoffs
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Kobe Bryant

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