Lakers coach Luke Walton believes rookie Brandon Ingram could morph into an all-around force like the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reports. “That’s what we want Brandon to be,” Walton told Oram and other reporters. “We don’t want him to be just a scorer or just a playmaker. We want him to be one of those guys that literally, by being on the court, ends up with blocks, steals, rebounds, points and assists. Just being all over the floor. That’s our vision for what he’s going to be.” Ingram, who recently moved into the starting lineup at small forward, has doubts that he’d thrive in the role as a point guard or point forward on a regular basis. “That’s something I dealt with in high school, but it’s of course not my natural position,” Ingram said. “I think for me being in the starting lineup and me being in my natural position has been good for me.”
In other developments regarding the Lakers:
- Guard Lou Williams leads the Lakers in scoring despite coming off the bench, but it’s Williams’ dedication to other aspects of his game that pleases Walton, as he told the assembled media. Williams is averaging 18.3 PPG and 3.1 APG and the latter stat holds significance to Walton. “When I took over this team, obviously Lou’s a great scorer,” Walton said. “He’s been a great scorer since he’s been in this league. Our biggest thing with him is we wanted him to playmake and we wanted him to defend, because we knew what he’s capable of doing scoring the ball. We know that teams are going to try to take him out of that, whether it’s blitzing or double teaming or whatever it is. With him it’s always a fine line when we want him to come off those (screens) shooting and when we want him to come off as a playmaker and let that double team facilitate the rest of the possession. He’s done a good job of embracing that.”
- Clippers forward Blake Griffin has taken over the role as primary playmaker with Chris Paul sidelined by a left thumb injury, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Griffin had five assists in a victory over the Knicks on Wednesday. “I don’t think it’s really about getting the ball more,” Griffin told Turner. “I think it’s just about trusting the offense. I’m figuring out different ways we can score while CP is still out, figuring out how to better serve the offense, whether that’s with the ball or without the ball.” In seven games since returning to the lineup after knee surgery, Griffin has averaged 24.7 PPG, 8.4RPG and 4.9 APG.
- The Clippers need to make a bold move and should explore deals involving Griffin, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer opines. The Clippers require another long-range shooter and a defensive stopper, according to O’Connor, and they should try to swap Griffin for a player that fills those needs.