There are NBA rumors making the rounds that a current NBA player thinks Los Angeles Lakers rookie forward Brandon Ingram is better at this stage than Kevin Durant was. The name of that player? Kevin Durant.
According to NBC Sports, Durant has high praise for the former Duke University star.
“He (Brandon Ingram) reminds me of myself, but he’s a little farther along than I was at that stage,” Durant said after a recent Team USA practice against Ingram and the USA Men’s Select Team. “I feel like if you continue to keep working, he’s with a great organization that’s going to push him and put him in a good position to be who he is.”
“Continue to just work hard and believe in himself and everything is possible for him,” Durant continued. “He’s a great player. I watched him almost every game this season. I’m a huge fan, first person I can say that I can look at him and feel like I’m looking in the mirror. I’m rooting for him.”
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This certainly gives Lakers’ faithful reason to be very excited about Ingram, who was chosen No. 2 overall last month by the Lakers in the NBA Draft. Durant went on to describe the ways in which he feels that Ingram is more advanced than he was coming out of college.
“He’s a little bit more fluid than I was, as far as skill-wise, a little more advanced than I was at that time. I was just running, jumping, shooting threes,” Durant explained. “But, he could put the ball on the floor, change directions, get to the rim, shoot the pull-up three, so that stuff started to come a little later on for me, but he’s a little farther along than I was.”
Kevin Durant is getting a close-up look at Brandon Ingram this week, as Team USA is holding training camp in Las Vegas and practicing against the USA Men’s Select Team, which is made up of young, up-and-coming NBA players and talented rookies. This is an excellent opportunity for some of the NBA’s top young players to learn from some of the best veteran players in the game today. Ingram is surely paying close attention to Durant, since their games are so similar, and Durant is an established NBA superstar.
Ironically, the Lakers were interested in adding Kevin Durant to their roster this summer, but the coveted free agent chose to join the Golden State Warriors. Fox Sports reports that Kevin Durant chose not to meet with the Lakers during the free agency period because the team is “a couple years away” from being a contender. It now appears that in Brandon Ingram, the Lakers may have “Kevin Durant 2.0.”
Ingram played one season for coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke before declaring for the NBA Draft. Ingram played in 36 games his freshman year, averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He shot an impressive 41 percent from behind the three-point line, and certainly appears to have Durant-like talent. In the post-Kobe Bryant era, Ingram could begin to bring star power back to the Staples Center if he develops as expected.
Kevin Durant is a seven-time All-Star who is among the NBA’s elite. In his nine professional seasons, Durant has posted gaudy numbers (career averages of 27.4 points, seven rebounds, and 3.7 assists per contest). In 2015-16, he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to within a game of the NBA Finals, and he hopes to take that next step with the Warriors this coming season.
What do you think: will Brandon Ingram be able to fulfill the lofty expectations being placed upon him?
[Photo by John Locher/AP Images]