Brandon Ingram and Luol Deng will be battling for starting small forward position in the upcoming 2016-17 NBA season. Though Deng is expected to start, Lakers head coach Luke Walton admitted that he has not yet decided on who will be his starters next season.
In the 2016 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Brandon Ingram as No. 2 overall pick. The 19-year-old small forward is frequently compared to Warriors superstar Kevin Durant. He will be joining the Lakers young cores who are tasked to continue the team’s legacy in the post-Kobe Bryant era.
In the free agency, the Lakers add a veteran on their team – Luol Deng, who signed a four-year deal worth $72 million. Like Brandon Ingram, Deng also played small forward last season with the Miami Heat.
As the 2016-17 NBA season draws near, it remains questionable on who will be the starting small forward of the Los Angeles Lakers next season. Will the Lakers use rookie Brandon Ingram, who can be the next Kevin Durant? Or they will prefer veteran Luol Deng?
Lakers head coach Luke Walton will surely be having a tough decision since both players have the ability to start. The team needs to give Brandon Ingram more playing time to further develop his skills and boost his confidence.
However, Luol Deng did not become the highest paid player in the Lakers just to be a backup. Deng may not be already in his prime but he is still capable of putting up good numbers. For Luke Walton, he will be depending the starting lineup on the players’ performance in the training camp.
“You can pencil in whoever you want [to the starting lineup], I don’t have anyone penciled in right now,” Walton said when asked whether or not he was willing to declare Deng the starter. “Everyone earns his spot. You come into camp, you compete against other players, you respect your teammates, but whoever outplays the next guy in line, that’s who gets to start.”
If Brandon Ingram and Luol Deng made good impressions, coach Luke Walton may decide to use both of them as starting forwards.
Photo courtesy: @b_ingram13/Instagram