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LAS VEGAS — In Brandon Ingram’s Las Vegas Summer League debut last week, the Los Angeles Lakers Jerseys rookie forward and No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft operated on the perimeter without much resistance from the opposition. In return, he took a few open shots or dished to teammates but played calm and with poise.
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However, in Ingram’s last two summer league games, opponents have changed up their approach and are instead aggressively pushing his 6-foot-9, 190-pound frame around, testing his strength and how he responds against brute force.
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So far, Ingram hasn’t responded all too well. He scored seven points on 3-of-12 shooting on Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers Jerseys and then had seven points again Monday in the Lakers’ 78-65 win over the Golden State Warriors Jerseys at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Ingram, for one, isn’t surprised by this tactic. The 18-year-old knows that that he is shockingly slight and that the biggest question surrounding his development is whether he can gain enough muscle to help deal with the grind of an 82-game regular season in a league full of players far more physically mature.
“I think just for my size and my frame, they just try to test me and it’s important for me to battle back and not just let them hit me but hit them also,” Ingram said.
Against the Warriors, though, Ingram tried to be the aggressor when he touched the ball, bulling into defenders at first chance.
“When guys get physical, I think it’s important to hit them first before they hit you,” he said.
That approach helped him reach the free-throw line nine times, and he knocked down seven of them. Still, he said he didn’t expect to miss so many shots through his first few games.
“But I think my teammates are helping me out a lot,” Ingram continued. “I think they still have confidence in me that I’ll just shoot the next shot or get back on the defensive end. All the guys off the bench are helping me out a lot. I think they’re getting in and they’re making a lot of plays on the offensive end and defensive end.”
It figures that teams will play Ingram physically throughout the regular season, but Lakers assistant Jesse Mermuys, who is coaching the team’s summer league squad, is encouraged by how he has seen Ingram adjust to that style in recent days.
“What I really liked [Monday night] is that they were clearly making a concerted effort to get up and be physical with him, and I love the fact that he doesn’t shy away from that,” Mermuys said. “He keeps attacking. He keeps trying. He keeps initiating contact and that’s a really good sign for a young guy. As skinny as he is, he’s not shying away from that contact and that abuse. He’s trying to go get it. And that’s a really good sign for him.”