Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton admitted that he preferred to use Luol Deng as their starting forward next season over rookie Brandon Ingram. After being questioned about his decision, Walton revealed the reason and his plan for the incoming rookie.
The Lakers added two young players to their roster in the recent NBA draft. Brandon Ingram and Ivica Zubac will join the team, who will be facing the season without Kobe Bryant. Also, the Lakers acquired two veterans on their team in the recent free agency – Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov.
In the nearing start of the 2016-17 NBA season, most people are waiting for Luke Walton to reveal his starting lineup. Some fans believe that Brandon Ingram should start over Luol Deng in order to fully develop his skills and confidence.
Unfortunately, Luke Walton revealed that Deng will be their starting small forward next season. Despite his skills, Ingram’s physique has been a major concern for the Lakers. The 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward possesses a thin frame entering his rookie season.
“We’re not going to throw him into the starting lineup right away,” Walton said in a recent interview with Southern California News Group. “We’re not going to play him 40 minutes a night. It’s going to be a gradual process.”
Luke Walton is anticipating that the biggest challenge for Brandon Ingram will be the physical abuse of an NBA season. Ingram only played 36 games in his lone season with the Duke and he is currently improving his physique.
“No player has ever been through that until you get to the NBA,” Walton said. “It’s exhausting until your body gets used to it and adjusts to it. It takes time. The biggest challenge for him will be figuring out the best way to manage that, still, train and take care of himself. The on-court stuff and his play will be just fine. It’ll be the challenge of the 82 game season he might struggle with.”
Giving him enough time to adjust to the NBA will be vital since he is tasked to continue the Lakers’ legacy in the post-Kobe Bryant era. While preparing himself, he can learn lots of things from veteran small forward Luol Deng. If he continues to improve his skills and physique, there is a higher possibility that Luke Walton will grant the playing time he demands.
Photo courtesy: @b_ingram13/Instagram