Basketball 2 years ago

Despite Hield's best efforts, Ingram still the man for L.A

  • Despite Hield's best efforts, Ingram still the man for L.A
Originally created on SilverSurfer Blog by Michael Madelly.

After recording their worst record in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers own the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft on Friday.

While Philadelphia are expected to take Australian Ben Simmons with the number one overall pick, rumours have continued to swirl regarding what the Lakers will do with the following pick.

With Simmons supposedly off the board, Duke's Brandon Ingram is odds-on to become a Laker and a player who some would argue has the higher ceiling to the LSU product from Melbourne, Australia. 

Ingram finished his debut season with Duke averaging 17.3 points on 44 percent shooting including 41 percent from three-point range. The small forward also added 6.8 rebounds, two assists and 1.4 blocks per game, outlining his ability on both sides of the court.

At 6-10 with a 7-3 wingspan, Ingram's high and quick release is impossible to defend since he is abnormally tall compared to most wing players which explains why most analysts have compared the Blue Devil to a young Kevin Durant. 

Quite the compliment for the 18 year old from North Carolina.

One man however, isn't buying into the Ingram-hype and believes he's in fact the best fit for L.A. That man being Oklahoma shooting guard, Buddy Hield. 

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Hield worked out for the Lakers for the second time on Sunday and gave his opinions on his fit in L.A. "This is what the franchise needs," Hield said. "The Lakers are losing Kobe and they need a scorer. So why not call on me to fill in their spot?"

The Oklahoma Sooner averaged 25 points on 50 percent shooting and 45 percent from three-point range during his senior year - a season in which he led his team to a birth in the Final Four before losing to the eventual National Champions, Villanova.

Hield's shot-making ability will undoubtedly have the attention of L.A's newly appointed head coach Luke Walton, who has been spoiled with first-class shooters during his tenure as assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

Luke, the son of Lakers Hall-of-Famer Bill, led the Warriors as the interim head coach to an NBA record 39-4 start to the season while Steve Kerr rehabilitated from back surgery.

Walton's arrival is a refreshing site for Laker fans after suffering through the worst two seasons in franchise history with a combined 38-126 record. Walton is expected to implement a style of basketball similar to what has made the Golden State Warriors so successful over the past few seasons. 

Movement, teamwork and three point shooting are all crucial attributes required to make what the Warriors do on offence so successful. These qualities were regularly displayed by both Hield and Ingram in their contrasting collegiate careers, however, while Hield's scoring ability may appear more attractive to Ingram's, Walton and the Lakers can't ignore the gaping flaws in Hield's defensive capabilities which was exposed during last season's March Madness Tournament. 

It could be argued that the weight Hield carried on the offensively end resulted in his lacklustre efforts on the defensive end and unfortunately the Lakers won't be able to see what Hield can do on that side of the ball until he joins the team, if drafted, ofcourse. 

While Ingram was by no means a lockdown defender for Duke, his ridiculous wingspan allowed him to recover on plays and at times, look like an elite defender during his freshman year. Ingram isn't polished, his defence needs improvement and that 88kg frame of his must bulk up over the summer, however, his overall upside has to have the Lakers salivating. 

At the end of the day, whilst Hield could end up becoming a lights-out scorer in the NBA, the Lakers cannot afford to pass on the prospect that has the potential to become the next Kevin Durant.

2016 NBA Draft
Friday 24th June  - 9:00am

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