This should not be interpreted as proof that Brandon Ingram is Good now. He had a promising sophomore season; he’s got some defensive versatility; he’s a terror when pointed at the cup and on the move. These things will sort themselves out in the regular season. Certainly a preseason game against the putrid Kings is far from definitive.
Take the 31-point double-double with a grain of salt, is what I’m saying. But it’s also worth gawking in appreciation at what Ingram did in a crucial late-game sequence, when he singlehandedly and utterly wiped out a Kings inbounds play just by being active and terrifyingly long. I can honestly say I have never seen this in a basketball game before:
A fun thing to watch in the video is how pumped the Lakers bench was about that sequence. LeBron was cackling and egging Ingram on; the whole corner was bouncing up and down by that fourth Kings attempt. And it genuinely seemed to unravel Cameron Reynolds, the inbounder: the next time he touched the ball, well beyond the arc, Ingram swiped at it with one of those Go Go Gadget arms, and though he didn’t appear to even get a finger on the ball, Reynolds fumbled it and then sort of clumsily dumped it off to a teammate like a game of hot potato. It was such a wild and impressive sequence that when Ingram lined up to defend the inbounder on Sacramento’s final possession, the announcers and the arena were buzzing in anticipation.
I know, preseason, Kings, etc. But the Lakers are hoping for a big leap from Ingram this season, and this was, in its way, an example of the kind of physical, athletic domination that the Lakers envisioned when they drafted him. He’s insanely tall and long, and he’s capable of these frighteningly twitchy and explosive moves, and sometimes he moves around the court like a guy who expects to be the baddest motherfucker out there. It’s too early to say whether he’s Good now, but if he is, or when he is, man, he will be fun as hell. Even on dipshit inbounds plays.