Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton said that rookie forward Brandon Ingram will not begin the 2016-2017 season in the starting lineup, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
Medina wrote, “Despite praising rookie forward Brandon Ingram for his playmaking and versatility, Walton said ‘we’re not going to throw him into the starting lineup right away’ out of concern how he handles a grueling 82-game schedule.”
The Lakers chose the 19-year-old Ingram with the second overall pick out of Duke University. He is the third consecutive top 10 pick the Lakers have made and the second No.2 overall pick after guard D’Angelo Russell last year. Russell made 48 starts last season, but most of those outings came in the later months of the year.
Ingram averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds in 36 games as a freshman with Duke. He shot 44 percent from the field, 41 percent from three-point range and 68 percent from the free-throw line. In 34.6 minutes per game, he also averaged more than one steal and one block per contest.
Coming out of college, scouts praised Ingram’s versatility in scoring. Some even considered him to be a significantly lesser version of Kevin Durant. The 6-9 wing was the consensus second overall player in last year’s pool of collegiate talent behind only LSU star Ben Simmons.
Instead of Ingram, another Duke forward will likely start for the Lakers, this one a NBA vet. Luol Deng signed with Los Angeles July 7 on a four-year, $72 million free agent contract. The 31-year-old spent the prime of his career with the Chicago Bulls, but has since bounced around for the past few years.