I may not be good at many things, but analyzing players is one of them. From scouting reports to just looking at film, I’ve improved my ability to gather things from following certain players on the court. Now following Ingram with D’Angelo Russell and Ivica Zubac on the court is a challenge. All of the in-depth looks that I want to get from players requires me to revisit them later on. That is exactly what I did, and when looking at it a bit closer, something hit me. It was something that I saw in college that I saw just based on Brandon Ingram‘s skill set. With a Warriors-like offense, versatility and floor spacing is very important. The great Mike Schmitz reciprocated my thought process:
Love how the Lakers used Ingram last night. Not many 6-9 guys who you can use as a pop man & PnR ball handler pic.twitter.com/mJroTUttTm
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) July 16, 2016
No doubt. Have long said that most of his success will likely come as a small ball 4. https://t.co/NmwkLpOUJT
— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) July 16, 2016
As a 6’9″ wing player with a insane 7’3″ wingspan, it is easy to see his potential on offense and defense. The Kingston native has all of the tools to play the 4 for periods at a time. Assuming that he adds more strength over the course of the year, he could get some time at the spot. Luke is going to be experimenting with all different types of line-up combinations as the season progresses. Players will move around in order to create some added positional versatility.
Ingram as a player can shoot lights out and create his own offense at times. He played extremely well against power forwards in college, as he abused their lack of true lateral quickness or slow reaction time. It is much easier to score on them than the quicker wing defenders. Backing them down is something that he will struggle with, but he has some pretty advanced moves to create a foul by looking to draw one. Also, it is key to have playmakers on the floor, and Ingram is a good one. He won’t blow anyone away with his amazing dimes, but you can allow him to take it up the court and run the offense.
What really gives him the upside as a four is when the Lakers run a pick and pop with D’Angelo at the point. There are many issues to stopping this combination, especially if the players both develop on the curve they are projected to be on. D’Angelo can stop on a dime and shoot or pass the ball off of the defenses reactions. Ingram can catch the ball and shoot the ball from anywhere. Choosing how to guard this is something that will be a real problem. Ask the Warriors from my 2k MyLeague how hard it is to stop this pick and roll. More than likely, Russell might draw the defenders and leave Ingram wide open. Once he adjusts to the NBA line, it will be money.
Ingram cuts and moves well without the ball. As much as I hate the Kevin Durant comparison, the ways that you can use Ingram in a modern offense are endless. He can even play some minutes at the center if needed. He just does so many things and has so many skills that makes him worth the #2 pick. All of these versatile ways will require time to develop, but Lakers fans should be excited to have Brandon Ingram.
Defensively, he can also have an impact at the four just by virtue of his long wingspan. He can block shots and can cut into passing lanes to deny some entry passes. Right now, he would get killed at the 4. Players would just post him up and he would have to foul or give up the basket. He shows flashes of surprisingly good interior on-ball defense, but it isn’t consistent enough. As his body matures, this will get cleared up and he will match up nicely against a 4. Switching onto guards will be another area where Ingram will exceed. Power forwards that are “undersized” need to be able to step out on the perimeter and play effective defense. With his defensive ceiling being as high as his offensive, that is something that he will be able to achieve and maybe even more.
Here is an amazing example of his length. He helped Nance on a rotation and was able to get his hand on a block. His arms wrapped around nicely and got a nice armful of the ball. As a potential 4, it is crucial to be able to recover quickly and protect the rim. He has the length but he may be bodied down low a bit more than one would like. Yet those freakish arms are going to affects shots either on the perimeter or inside.
Having advanced moves when facing up is crucial, and he has an impressive jab step that most bigs will fall for if it isn’t overused. With his long arms he can use that hesitation to get his shot off quite easily.
He beats another big man again and finishes quite nicely by calling bank. Holds that ball high and makes a quick, strong one dribble move. He gets to the restricted area in 3 steps which is just insane. More proof of why he gets into the heads of PF that he can attack if he wants to. He can get knocked off balanced but his body adjusts.
My favorite Ingram highlight that had me going crazy was this one. The Lakers used him as a 4 here and called a pick and pop. The defense makes a huge mistake and reacts to the guard instead of making sure there is a body on Ingram. He gets a great look that he will be knocking down very consistently.
Gets trapped by the 2 tall defenders but Ingram is just so long he can fire a pass over both as he can see over the D and find the open man. Nice high IQ play here and didn’t force up a shot. As a small ball 4, playmaking is a key component and he will have the ball on some traps and against longer players so being patient is a must.
Matched up with a 4 on top of the key is an accident waiting to happen with the fancy footwork that Ingram has. He used all of the jab steps in the book to get some space then drove to the right side. He saw that the defender was committing to that side and spun left. It was just a quick fade shot from then on. He really cooked him and showed how he might be a tough cover against 4’s because of his good isolation game.
A NBA PF in Diallo was on Ingram and he is know for his defensive upside. Brandon Ingram beats Diallo with 3 steps and gets to the hole for a lay up. Even with Diallo’s tools, Ingram is to extend enough to lay it up faster. This is an amazing dribble drive against a projected top 10 pick in Diallo. He put the ball up and got aggressive.
Of course here, the play most swoon over, he beat the poor big man with an up fake that got him in a bad position. Buddy runs to try and steal the ball but just gets out of the way with the towering Ingram coming at the rim. Brandon finished nicely with the slam and was a something that the crowd got into.
He doesn’t shy away from contact here from the stronger player and gets more than enough contact from the big man. The poor guard tried to get a steal and Ingram got an easy drive and foul. Its good to know that doesn’t shy away from bigger defenders all that much.
He cooked his defender for reaching a but and did a smooth spin move to attack. Let me just get this out of the way, Ingram’s spin move is going to be a legit go to move in his overall arsenal. When he attacked he was met by Diallo and was forced to adjust by laying it up by reaching out. His length was good enough to reach over both bigs for the tip in. Another thing at that power forwards do.
More catch and shoot from the top key is good to see. That shot will be there on pick and pops and it will be crucial for him to hit it. If not then the guard running it gets a guard that is reeling without the help defense. This is going to be very deadly going forward and will be amazing to see. Ingram has a lot of upside in general but his ability to play the 4 in the future will be one of this tantalizing quality that few will be able to do as good as he can.