Brandon Ingram gets a look at possible new home with Lakers
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Brandon Ingram very well could be the next big piece in the Los Angeles Lakers' increasingly interesting young core.
And if the Duke shooter ends up on the West Coast, he'll be eager to add another championship banner to the walls of the training gym where he worked up a sweat Thursday.
Two weeks before his basketball future is determined at the NBA draft, Ingram went through a full workout as part of a multiday introduction to the Lakers, a vaunted franchise rebuilding from its worst season.
Ingram and Australia's Ben Simmons are the consensus top two picks, and the Lakers are almost certain to grab the player left behind by the 76ers. While Ingram spoke warmly of his initial interactions with the Lakers, he'll pursue his NBA career with the same passion in Philadelphia or Los Angeles.
''It doesn't matter at all,'' Ingram said. ''I want to go to the organization that wants me, and I want to develop in this league the best way that I can.''
Although new coach Luke Walton is still working for the Golden State Warriors, Ingram went through drills for general manager Mitch Kupchak's front office and the basketball development staff. He went to dinner with many of the same people Wednesday night.
Ingram said he thought it was important to show the Lakers ''my determination and how I'm self-driven. Just trying to work as hard as possible on this court, and trying to show a little character outside the court. Showing exactly who I am, and trying to get a great feel for them.''
Ingram sees himself playing multiple positions in the NBA, a quality that likely would fit well with Walton's plan to install the best parts of Golden State's free-flowing offensive approach. Ingram doesn't flinch from draft analysts comparing him to Kevin Durant, either.
''I think being versatile is a part of this game nowadays,'' Ingram said. ''I think, with my body type and how tall I am and with the size I'm developing, I think it's going to be important for me to play different positions on the floor.''
After Kobe Bryant's long goodbye mercifully ended in April, Los Angeles survived the draft lottery and kept the second overall pick for the second straight draft. The Lakers chose D'Angelo Russell last year, and the point guard showed his enormous promise during Bryant's rocky farewell season.
The Lakers' core includes forward Julius Randle, who would be a compelling physical counterpoint to Ingram, and rising guard Jordan Clarkson. They also have ample salary cap space to sign free agents after largely striking out in that market during Kobe's final years.
Ingram is intrigued.
''You see a lot of championships and great players coming through here,'' Ingram said. ''As a kid, you dream of just being in a great organization and making your own brand. So coming into Duke, I had a goal to try to be a national champion. That didn't happen, but I wanted to be a great player there. And whatever organization is my next step, I want to be another great player there.''
While Ingram cooled down from his workout, Russell was doing shooting drills with a coterie of Lakers development coaches. Russell was a high school teammate of Simmons, but has spoken positively of both candidates to join him in purple and gold.
Ingram's offensive versatility and skill are intriguing to his potential employers, even if his gangly teenage frame needs work. Ingram gained 25 pounds during his year at Duke, and he plans to keep adding mass.
''Just eat everything I can,'' he said with a laugh. ''Of course, I think (for) my weight, I can eat anything. I don't have a certain diet for myself. Just eating anything I can and staying in the weight room as much as possible. ... I know everybody in the NBA developed their body in the summer, so I'll try to do the same thing.''
Ingram said he'll work out for the 76ers at some point this month. Philadelphia general manager Bryan Colangelo has spoken warmly of Simmons, and observers increasingly think the LSU big man is the leader for the No. 1 spot.
If that means Ingram is headed west, he can't wait for the challenge.
''Everyone around here are great people,'' Ingram said. ''They make you feel comfortable. I can say it's a family around the Lakers organization.''