The Lakers currently have a winning record as well as a positive point differential, so it’s far too early to ring the sirens of concern.
LeBron James has done nothing but praise Brandon Ingram since he joined the Lakers. But when NBA expert Brian Windhorst was asked to share an update about where teams view Ingram, his report was going to be inevitably intriguing regardless of what was relayed (via ESPN):
“There’s an executive (that I have a longterm relationship with) who was a big Brandon Ingram fan when he came out of Duke. [He] told me that he felt he like he was going to be a world-class scorer … The guy was like: ‘It’s not working with LeBron.’ He doesn’t really want to blame Ingram. I think he’re more concerned about where he is with LeBron.”
First, it’s important to note that there is likely no trade involving Ingram on the horizon. No one is pressing the panic button in Los Angeles this early in the season and there is plenty of time for the two to develop better chemistry on the court.
Yet with comments from James that he “almost cracked” during the tough start to the season, it’s always worth at least checking the pulse of this kind of situation.
Even though Ingram’s performance so far doesn’t speak particularly well to his overall development, other front offices might note that his stats when he isn’t playing alongside the four-time MVP are still strong. As such, any form of inability to play alongside James would impact only Los Angeles and not a potential suitor.
Ingram has averaged 21.1 points with 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per 36 since the 2018 NBA All-Star Break during the 227 minutes he has not played with James. But he is producing 15.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per 36 during the 228 minutes he has played since James signed with the Lakers.
Despite a positive team net rating, Los Angeles has been outscored by 1.9 points per 100 possessions during the 228 total minutes James and Ingram have appeared on the court together so far. That is not going to fly so long as Ingram is considered the second-best player on the team with James.