EL SEGUNDO (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers selected Duke forward Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night, adding another talented teenager to the rebuilding club’s young core.
The 6-foot-9 Ingram spent one season at Duke, averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds as an immediate star for the Blue Devils. Pro scouts were tantalized by his 41 percent shooting on 3-pointers, and his lanky frame only heightened the comparisons to Kevin Durant.
After the 76ers chose big man Ben Simmons with the top pick, the Lakers eagerly grabbed Ingram as they rebuild from Kobe Bryant’s retirement and the worst season in franchise history (17-65).
Ingram joins D’Angelo Russell — last year’s No. 2 overall pick — along with Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. on an intriguing roster assembled by general manager Mitch Kupchak, who hopes he has built the foundations of the Lakers’ next powerful team.
The Lakers were the NBA’s worst 3-point shooting team last season. New coach Luke Walton hopes to install large portions of the Golden State Warriors’ offensive approach, which means Ingram should get plenty of outside shots next season.
Ingram’s skinny build was a concern to some scouts, and he realizes he must get bigger to maximize his NBA potential. He gained 25 pounds between high school and the NBA draft process, and he plans to put on more muscle this summer after hitting the Lakers’ weight room.
Ingram also receives high marks for his character and commitment to teamwork, with Mike Krzyzewski praising the freshman’s maturity. He credits his rise out of Kinston, North Carolina, to the influence of his father, Donald, a basketball referee.
He’ll need that strength of character if he hopes to be the next star for the 16-time NBA champion Lakers, who are starting near the bottom after the worst three-year stretch in franchise history.
Ingram joins Russell — Simmons’ high school teammate — in an elite club of just seven top-two draft choices in Lakers franchise history. Four of those selections are in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and a fifth — David Meyers — was traded for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
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