Hello and welcome to telling it like it is. This is something that I started last year, and I have decided to relaunch this year with hopefully more consistent posting. This will most likely be once every 1 or 2 weeks.
Brandon Ingram: A tale of two sides of the court
The #2 overall pick in the 2016 draft has gotten out to a really up and down start that has surprised many people. The problem is that you can use either his offense or defense to argue that he has been good or bad.
On offense, he has really struggled to get anything to fall. He has run some pretty good pick and rolls here and there, but for the most part his offensive has been less than ideal. Here is a look at just how bad:
That is not great for a player that had so much success shooting and creating good looks for himself in college. He hasn’t been a complete zero on offense, though, and that is good enough for the Lakers right now. They don’t really need him to shoot well yet. His defense is enough to help the 2nd unit that has a bunch of subpar to bad defenders.
His shot will start to fall soon, and when it does, people will begin to see what Ingram’s full potential really is. Until then, all that we get are flashes of his potential like his quick first step, his ability to rise up and shoot over defenders, and his craftiness when finishing inside.
Honestly, nothing about what Ingram has showed us should be a surprise. We all know there is an adjustment to the 3 point line and that he would struggle to create until he adjusted to the pace of the game. The real results should be coming next season, when hopefully Ingram is starting and is able to contribute a lot more on offense.
Until then, we have his defense to fall in love with, which has translated pretty beautifully from college because of his length and quickness. He has had to guard a couple of difficult matchups and he has done so quite well. At this point, he is easily the Lakers best perimeter defender in general. His closeouts are really bothersome and his length allows him to step into passing lanes with ease to cut off passes. At this point, he is a plus defender which is really great for his upside. As he gets acclimated to the physicality of the NBA, he could become one of the best defenders in the league and make multiple all-team defense appearances.
Brandon Ingram is just getting started in the NBA. His impact is already being felt, but don’t take my word for it. Here is Coach Luke on Ingram’s defense (via Tani Ganguli):
Once he fully understands it and fully commits to it, he’ll be great at it,” Walton said. “To play defense anyway at this level at his age is near impossible to me. These are grown men you’re playing against. It normally physically just beats you down. He’s been pretty good with it.”
Which Laker is the MIP: Julius Randle or Nick Young?
For the Lakers to be this shockingly good, they must have some players be shockingly good. That is exactly what the Lakers have in Nick Young and Julius Randle at the moment.
Julius has not only taken Lakers Twitter by surprise, but also the rest of NBA. He is playing much more controlled and making better decisions. Not only that, he is finishing at a high rate. Just look:
This is just insane compared to last year, where he really struggled to get anything going. This has allowed his game to expand so much, as he is getting a lot more attention on the offense, which means more chances to pass the ball. When Julius pushes, all eyes are on him as this huge freight train is coming at players with a full head of stream. They have to stop him or he is going to the rim every time. His jumpshot has also improved, so there is that.
Onto Nick Young. The veteran came off a season full of controversy and he came in this season with an entirely different mindset that has completely changed his game and his performance. He is driving the ball, shooting it consistently, and even passing the ball instead of taking highly contested shots. This has all led to him becoming one of the most improved players period, and that is all thanks to his amazing coach that has sparked this career turn around.
I don’t think people know how amazing this all is. NICK YOUNG IS THE STARTING SHOOTING GUARD FOR THE LAKERS IN 2016. A couple months ago, I wanted Nick to get cut. Now, I am loving his role and production for the team. It is really early in a long season, but if he keeps this up, he will be a strong contender for the award.
I think Nick Young is the most improved on the Lakers up to this point. He was at such a low point last year and he has come full circle into this marvelous headline that nobody saw coming. That’s not to take away anything from Julius Randle, who has been the best player on the court for the Lakers. Nick Young has struggled through adversity on and off the court, to see him thriving is a beautiful sight to behold.
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