Truth be told– nothing is ever what it seems in the NBA. And this is why the Los Angeles Lakers must be careful when it comes to Paul George and Brandon Ingram. For the past year– it’s been highly noted that George wishes to play for his hometown Lakers in 2018 when he becomes a free agent. This is music to any Laker fan but what if it’s not as big as it may seem?
Let me explain.
George is an All-Star. One of the best two-way players in the NBA and as we’ve seen this offseason– he’s a wanted man. His presence could turn a bubble team into a contender with ease. This is what the Boston Celtics and now the Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping for. However, the Lakers are in a different boat.
Magic Johnson believes that in one season the Lakers fortunes will change with George onboard. But what if they already have their own version in the starting lineup? The Lakers selected Ingram with the 2nd pick in the 2016 Draft and for a rookie on a rebuilding team– he played pretty well. How well? Ingram averaged 9 points and 4 rebounds in 29 minutes of action. While George is the player that he is now– let’s not forget he was once a baby-faced rookie as well. No one saw his outburst coming. In 2010, PG-13 averaged 8 points then up to 12 for is 2nd season with similar numbers as Ingram.
As much as the Lakers THINK they need George– why not give Ingram a chance to prove he can be the player they selected just a year ago.
Why all the fuss over Ingram? Ingram and George play the same position. With George in OKC this year– the Lakers will get a chance to see if Ingram can become that two-way player that George is. I think he can and the best part is– he’s much cheaper. Why pay $25M-30M for a player when his clone is already wearing Purple & Gold?
What fans see is the 24 points and 7 rebounds per game but what they fail to realize is that those 24 points came from 18 shots, 7 three-point attempts and 36 minutes per game as the Indiana Pacers primary scorer. What happens if Ingram is given those same opportunities for the Lakers? Would the outcome be the same?
I understand where Magic is coming from and the excitement that a player like George will bring for a team looking for that Kobe feel but why be so fast? Why are they ready to cast away a player they have yet to see his full potential? George is good but something is telling that Ingram can be just as good– if not better.