NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers Drafting Brandon Ingram To Replace Kobe Bryant

NBA rumors about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers are starting to swirl as we get closer to the final few games that Kobe Bryant will play before walking away from the sport of basketball. While no one will ever be able to fill his massive shoes, the Lakers do need to find someone to replace him in the starting lineup at least. According to Sports Illustrated Fansided, that someone could be Duke Blue Devils star Brandon Ingram.

Trades make things interesting in the NBA, but they also can make things complicated. The Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a complicated situation. The NBA Draft Lottery determines that they get one of the first three choices, then the Lakers can speed up their rebuilding process by adding another potential star. If it is outside of the top three, then Los Angeles is out in the cold because the Philadelphia 76ers will receive that pick.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant [Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]If the Los Angeles Lakers get lucky and land the first overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, then general manager Mitch Kupchak is going to be thrilled. That would enable him to select LSU Tigers star Ben Simmons, who has received comparisons to LeBron James. At 6’10”, 240 pounds, Simmons plays the game like a guard, which means that whoever is coaching the Lakers next season can utilize him all over the court and at different positions.

Is the Los Angeles Lakers get the second overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, then the choice might be made for them. The Philadelphia 76ers are more than likely going to select Ben Simmons if they get the first overall pick. That leaves Brandon Ingram as the best available option on the draft board. Considering how well that he has played for the Duke Blue Devils, he’s not exactly a horrible consolation prize.

Tigers star Ben Simmons Ben Simmons [Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]Brandon Ingram is 6’10”, 195 pounds. Since he’s barely 18-years-old, there’s a very good chance that he’s going to grow into that frame of his. At his size, he seems best suited for the small forward position. That works out well for the Los Angeles Lakers because that position is going to be empty when Kobe Bryant retires at the end of the season. The good thing for Ingram is that the Lakers don’t exactly have someone ready to take over that spot from Bryant right now.

The Los Angeles Lakers would start combination guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson in the back court. With Julius Randle as the starting power forward, the Lakers can slide Brandon Ingram next to him as small forward. Roy Hibbert is currently the starting center for Los Angeles, but he should have a new address in the NBA next season. The Lakers are heavily rumored to be signing Hassan Whiteside in free agency this summer.

Lakers star Julius Randle Julius Randle [Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images]Brandon Ingram has a great outside shot, and he’s a very good defender, despite being a bit lanky right now. That makes him a pretty good fit with the Los Angeles Lakers. Ingram’s ability to spread the floor will open the lanes up for D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson to attack the rim. It also clears up room for Julius Randle, a big man who likes to operate from the perimeter in much the same way that Lamar Odom used to do for the Lakers.

While there’s going to be some fans out there with unrealistic expectations of Brandon Ingram, the North Carolina native needs to be smart when he enters the NBA. He needs to know that no one out there is going to be able to replace Kobe Bryant and what he meant to the Los Angeles Lakers for two decades. Ingram needs to just be himself.

[Featured Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]