first_img“Of course, from my competitive side,” Ingram said on Tuesday at the Lakers’ introductory press conference. “But if I have to be a reserve, I’ll be coachable enough to do whatever the coach tells me to do.”Lakers coach Luke Walton has said he considered Ingram the top choice after winning the ACC’s Freshman of the Year award during his lone season at Duke. Walton also has praised Ingram’s defense, outside shooting and ability to play multiple positions. The Lakers pursued Deng for the same reasons after averaging 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his ► 12-year ◄ NBA career. Deng also has cemented a league-wide reputation as a positive locker room influence and willing mentor. It also seems natural Ingram and Deng could hit it off after both starring at Duke. “I haven’t talked to him yet, but I plan to pick his brain on different things,” Ingram said of Deng. “I hear nothing but good things about him. At practice, I plan to compete against him every single day. It’s up to the coaches on who starts. But of course, I’m going to compete against him every day.”Ingram demonstrated other ways he has willingly stayed humble. His older brother, Bo, plans to move out with Ingram later this summer to look for houses and to “keep me in line.” Ingram’s father, Donald, will also attend “a good portion” of Ingram’s rookie season in person whenever the Lakers’ 82-game schedule suits his schedule as a director of a local rec center in Kinston, N.C. After serving 21 years as an official, Donald Ingram has stressed to his son to view any media criticism equal to “fans in the stands that don’t know the rules of the game.”That mindset could become helpful considering Ingram already admitted his life has “changed a lot” since the Lakers drafted him two weeks ago.“Different people want to support you, hang onto you and text you a lot,” Ingram said. “But I’m staying grounded with it, being with my family, sticking in this gym and staying low key. I don’t think it changes much when you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.” Ingram has often leaned on mentors to tell him what that entails. Ingram played for an AAU team under former Kinston star and 18-year NBA veteran Jerry Stackhouse, who consistently preached about maintaining both a strong work ethic and humility. Ingram appreciated Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski imploring him to become a more vocal leader. And it appears Walton has already planted ideas in Ingram’s head that already resonate. “He taught me a lot of different things on and off the floor in how he wants to push the ball and play a different style,” Ingram said of Walton. “He’s a great guy. I’m just ready to get the ball on the floor and get the ball rolling.”That will start when the Lakers begin summer league play in Las Vegas on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Then, Ingram will find out how quickly his defensive versatility and outside shooting at elevated competition. He will also discover whether his rail-thin, 6-foot-9, 190-pound frame will become an issue. “If you can score the ball, you can play at any level. I don’t think it’s a big adjustment,” Ingram said. “Playing against stronger guys, I know I have to adjust a little bit just like what I did at the college level. You never know what to expect. So just come in here, play aggressive and play as hard as you can. You get good results out of it.”Will those results happen as a starter or a reserve? Ingram and his support system hardly sounded worried. Instead, they relished what Deng could do for his growth.“The Lakers need some veteran leadership. We’re not worried about minutes,” Donald Ingram said. “The coach will decide that.” The expectations for Brandon Ingram seemingly increase by the day. The Lakers drafted him with their No. 2 pick. Ingram’s versatility, long wingspan and rail-thin frame elicited comparisons to Kevin Durant. And Ingram learned on Tuesday he will have Kobe Bryant’s vacated locker at the Lakers’ practice facility. That does not secure Ingram as the Lakers’ definitive starter at small forward, though. The Lakers agreed to a four-year, $72 million with 12-year NBA veteran forward Luol Deng, who could assume that same position. That prompted one question: does Ingram care if he starts?center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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