The Los Angeles Lakers changed the course of the franchise in the summer of 2019 when the team executed one of the biggest trades in recent NBA history for Anthony Davis. The New Orleans Pelicans got a perceived haul for AD, receiving Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and a myriad of first-round picks.
The trade has not exactly worked out for the Pelicans as Hart and Ball are no longer with the team and the picks have been less than ideal so far. Ingram is the crown jewel of the trade as he is still in New Orleans and has picked up an all-star appearance for his efforts.
Ingram is reuniting with Hart on Team USA for the FIBA World Cup this summer and is also playing with current Laker, Austin Reaves. While Reaves sets the world on fire, Ingram has struggled. The former second-overall pick is struggling to get consistent playing time and isn’t playing very well in those minutes.
His play should not be concerning, though, it is the fact that he took the time to go to the media and complain about his situation for Team USA. In a recent interview with The Athletic, Ingram candidly revealed his frustrations about Team USA thus far.
"“‘This is totally different than what I am used to,’ Ingram told The Athletic Sunday, prior to the Americans’ practice at a Manila business district hotel. ‘The team is winning right now, so I can’t be selfish thinking about myself. But it’s a little frustrating right now for me, and I’m just trying to figure out ways I can be effective.'”"
Having the ability to be open and candid about the situation is respectable and it is not all bad for Ingram. The former Laker admitted that he can be stuck in his own ways and getting to play alongside so many talented players can help him and the Pelicans this upcoming season.
While it is great to be candid, it can also be quite revealing. Lakers fans have all the evidence they need to know that Ingram’s future in LA, if he was to stay, probably wouldn’t have gone as planned.
Brandon Ingram proves he never would’ve worked on the Lakers.
Again, it has nothing to do with his play in the tournament as that is bound to happen when you have so many talented guys on the roster. But the mindset that Ingram is exhibiting — which seems to be more of a “me” mindset instead of a “we” mindset — does not translate to winning basketball.
There are so many players throughout the NBA that can put up great individual numbers, take home individual accolades but never contribute to serious winning basketball. We all know who they are because at the end of the day, basketball is a team sport. If someone does not buy into that, it is never going to work.
Ingram is a really talented player and he is still young and coming into his own. But maybe there is a reason why Ingram only has one playoff appearance in his four years with the Pelicans. Granted, the team around him hasn’t always been great, but a true star can at least elevate his team to the playoffs, right?
The Lakers aren’t just a playoff team, they are a title-contending team. Even though Ingram seemingly has the talent to be a co-star on a title-contending team, comments like this seem to indicate he may have more of the “great stats but not a lot of success” trait.
Obviously, the Lakers were always going to trade Ingram when Anthony Davis was on the table. But there was a world in which the Lakers could have simply waited for Davis to be a free agent and then signed him, keeping Ingram and others in town.
It appears that Los Angeles made the right choice to just get the trade done as soon as possible. They won a title in Davis’ first year in LA and Ingram probably wouldn’t have been what the team was expecting.