Brandon Ingram was a highly-touted player coming out of Duke. While Ben Simmons was undoubtedly the biggest star entering the 2016 NBA Draft, Ingram wasn’t far behind him. Folks had immediate visions of him being another incarnation of Kevin Durant.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Ingram just couldn’t deliver on the hype after being taken with the second overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. He showed plenty of flashes of brilliance, but between injuries and inconsistent play could never quite put it together.
That all changed when Ingram was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in a deal that brought Anthony Davis to LA. Almost immediately, the former Blue Devils standout began to thrive. He was so good, in fact, that this past offseason he was rewarded with a five-year, $158 million max contract.
This week, Ingram appeared on the The Old Man and The Three podcast and explained why he was playing so much better in New Orleans than he did in Los Angeles.
“I definitely felt very uncomfortable,” he said of being drafted by and playing for the Lakers.
“It was different. I didn’t know what I was stepping into actually. It was kind of like the world came when you were going to the Lakers. My social media started blowing up. I was into social media, but then I had to step into reality.
“I go into my first game, everybody knows who I am around L.A. It was just totally different. It’s different when it’s Laker love. You know you can get soaked up into the game of basketball or you can get soaked up into everything else that is around it in Los Angeles. It was important for me to just focus on basketball.”
Fortunately, the Ingram-for-Davis swap worked out for all parties involved. Davis and the Lakers won a championship last year, obviously. Ingram, meanwhile, developed into an All-Star and averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 2019-20.
Fans took a close look at this OJ Simpson photo and lost their minds. https://t.co/8BUpha9b8g
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 29, 2020
It is very rare for NBA trades to leave all sides satisfied, but the deal that brought Davis to Los Angeles in exchange for Ingram did precisely that.