The expectations to be great have always been there for Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram. Coming out of Duke as the number 2 overall pick, he was looked upon as the franchise cornerstone of the post-Kobe Lakers era.
He has played pretty well in his first two years but he is still not a guy you'd put in the top-tier of NBA players. The potential is undeniable: great size and length, good fundamentals, scoring prowess. However, he has yet to make that jump to a superstar level player. Ingram himself recognizes this and in an interview with BleacherReport said,
“In the two years that I've been in the NBA, I don't think I've played to my ability,” Ingram says. As he speaks, he sounds like someone much older. He takes his time with each sentence, as if making sure each syllable counts. His voice is barely audible, but there's excitement in it, as if he knows he is a man in the middle of a metamorphosis: not quite caterpillar, not quite butterfly. “Even just me being comfortable and playing my game,” he adds. “I don't think I've ever been on the floor, comfortable.”
His fellow Kinston, North Carolina native and Grizzlies assistant coach Jerry Stackhouse seems to be a big believer in Ingram. In an article from Silverscreenandroll.com, Stackhouse said,
“Within the next five years, I think Brandon could be one of the top five or 10 players in the game,” says Jerry Stackhouse, the former NBA All-Star who is also Ingram’s mentor and former AAU coach.
A lot more eyes will be watching Ingram's progress this season especially with the high expectation for him and the Lakers. Fortunately for him, he has a teammate in LeBron James who can show him what it takes to be an elite player in this league.