Kevin Durant has acknowledged that Los Angeles Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram reminds him of his younger self.
Durant, 27, and Ingram, 19, squared off against each other in Las Vegas this week during Team USA’s scrimmage. Watch Video Above.
Ever since Durant entered the league in 2007, no other player has drawn more comparisons with the four-time scoring champion. Just like Durant, Ingram is entering the league with a thin body frame but a versatile skill-set and an enormous wing span.
When Durant first arrived, many analysts were concerned with his lack of muscle. However, Durant turned out just fine, becoming one of the game’s greatest all-time scorers. Can Ingram do the same?
“He (Brandon Ingram) reminds me of myself, but he’s a little farther along than I was at that stage,” Durant told Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters are Team USA’ practice session on Tuesday. Ingram, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle are three Lakers players on Team USA’s Select Team.
Kevin Durant: It’s like looking in the mirror
Durant revealed that he followed Ingram’s progress in Duke and felt like he was “looking in the mirror” every time he saw the forward put the ball in the basket. “He’s a great player. I watched him almost every game this season. I’m a huge fan, first person I can say that I can look at him and feel like I’m looking in the mirror. I’m rooting for him.”
It’s a little far-fetched to state that Ingram was “father along” than Durant at the same stage. Durant averaged 25.8 points and 11.1 rebounds during his one-and-done season with Texas in 2006-07. Ingram averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds during his only year in collegiate basketball. However, it’s worth noting that Ingram’s defensive rating and three-point percentage were slightly better.
So why exactly does Durant feel Ingram is better at the same age? “He’s a little bit more fluid than I was, as far as skill-wise, a little more advanced than I was at that time. I was just running, jumping, shooting threes. But, he could (at Duke) put the ball on the floor, change directions, get to the rim, shoot the pull-up three, so that stuff started to come a little later on for me, but he’s a little farther along than I was.”
Is Kevin Durant being a bit too nice to the Lakers rookie? According to this Fox Sports writer, Durant’s comments about Ingram shouldn’t be taken seriously. “Durant’s comments about Ingram are patently absurd,” writes Andrew Lynch, before adding that Durant’s undue praise isn’t good for the young Laker.
“Okay. Maybe Durant is looking into a mirror when he sees Ingram — but if so, it’s definitely a fun house mirror that’s distorting everyone’s perceptions,” added Lynch.
Now that Kevin Durant has given him the endorsement, Brandon Ingram will enter his rookie season with heavy expectations. Can he live up to the hype?