After numerous failed seasons for the franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers were in win-now mode with the arrival of LeBron James. Missing the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, it was time for them to make some moves.
Two to three years prior, the Lakers organization were optimistic that their young core would slowly develop into big-time stars. And through those times, they all showed much growing pains trying to transition into the league. With those guys not showing much improvement to star status, they were shipped over to New Orleans for superstar Anthony Davis.
What if the Lakers trusted the process? @RadRivas goes through a timeline in which the Lakers kept all of their young players together through this season. https://t.co/NpPIgW0lzm pic.twitter.com/k7jsWwAkBl— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) May 14, 2020
One of the young core guys who was traded was Brandon Ingram. Coming out of Duke, Ingram was a kid that people needed to stay patient with. Yes, he does have a very small frame. But the guy knows how to play the game of basketball. His IQ is amazing and he can play all five positions on the basketball floor.
Being traded seemed to have lit a fire in Brandon Ingram and he has not looked back. He has become more assertive on both ends of the floor and has become a lead role for New Orleans. His play throughout the season gave him the lead as far as Most Improved Player and it’s no question he’ll run away with it.
Kyle Kuzma was the only guy of the young core to remain on the Lakers roster. And this season, he has been rather inconsistent to say the least. It leaves many questioning whether the move to trade Ingram was legitimate or not? If Ingram was still playing for the Lakers today, there’s no question he would be flourishing in purple and gold.
The Lakers were open to giving up anything they could to acquire Anthony Davis. So if the Pelicans wanted Ingram, then that’s what they had to sacrifice. If only that front office would have believed in Ingram a bit more. If there were a way for the Lakers to grab AD and keep Ingram, there would be a different dynamic in Staples Center.
Ingram and Davis would have potentially had great chemistry together. He is not as great of a passer as King James is, both of them would have still ran the pick and roll to success. The greatness both Ingram and Davis perceive would have allowed them to complement one another on the floor and win ball games every night.
Even with the narrative that LeBron and Ingram wouldn’t have flourished, LBJ still loved the kid and everything about him. Ingram’s scoring ability and facilitating would have taken much pressure off of LeBron. The big issue this season was that there has been nobody on the Lakers to control the offense while LeBron sits. With Ingram, he would be able to have full control of the game and dominate the floor with all of the shooters around him. Although there are some similarities to their game, LeBron and Ingram would have found success on the floor together.
The trade has been a blessing and a curse for Ingram (more so blessing). He has played lights out all season long and has found success in his new role in New Orleans. Many Laker fans can only dream of what he could have brought to the team if he was never traded. The ability to compliment everyone on the floor is only what a team could imagine.
What was done has been done and there’s no looking back for both sides. The Lakers are currently competing for a championship while the Pelicans are looking into the future. It was a necessary move for LA to get LeBron the right corner piece to compete for a championship. But only some could wish that Brandon Ingram would have never been the sacrifice to have that.