When the Los Angeles Lakers failed to find a second superstar to pair with LeBron James, most people expected Brandon Ingram to be the second-best player wearing the Purple and Gold in the 2018-19 NBA season. Ingram has established an impressive performance in his sophomore year, creating the belief that he’s set to unleash his superstar potential in his third season in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Brandon Ingram failed to live up to expectations, and he’s noticeably struggling when he shares the court with LeBron James. In his per-36 minutes’ statistics (courtesy of the NBA), Ingram played better when he was not playing alongside James. Without James on the floor, the 21-year-old small forward averaged 27.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists on 54.5 percent shooting from the field and 75.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc. With James on the floor, Ingram’s numbers dropped to 15.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on 44.3 percent shooting from the field and 19.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
In a recent interview with Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (courtesy of SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll), Brandon Ingram admitted that he needed to make a huge adjustment in his game since LeBron James joined the Lakers. However, the former No. 2 overall pick remains optimistic that he and James can soon find a better “connection.”
“It’s been an adjustment,” Ingram said. “Just because we’re both so ball-dominant. He can pass the ball, I can pass the basketball, he can drive the basketball, he’s a lot stronger on the finish. He can shoot the three, he can shoot the mid-range, he can do pretty much everything on the basketball floor. I think as the games continue, that’s what’s going to help a lot because we can get a connection.”
The Lakers hoped Brandon Ingram could be LeBron’s No. 2.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 17, 2018
Like Brandon Ingram and LeBron James, other superstars like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, Chris Paul and James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Paul George and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t immediately show good chemistry in their first games of playing together. However, as of now, Ingram must be aware that he’s no longer the team’s go-to guy and should start to learn how to efficiently play as LeBron’s sidekick.
Brandon Ingram remains sidelined due to injury, but when he returns, he’s expected to double his effort in improving his performance when sharing the court with LeBron James. However, it remains unknown if Ingram will finish the 2018-19 NBA season with the Lakers. In the past few months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that the Lakers plan to use Ingram as the main trade chip to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans before the February NBA trade deadline.