DeMarcus Cousins has finally been traded, after what feels like three seasons of rumors. Spare parts* and a Top 10 draft pick in the 2017 draft couldn’t possibly have been the best haul Sacramento could have gotten, but the Kings have been running a terrible operation for years.
The most interesting last-ditch overture the Kings made was to the Lakers in some type of trade for Brandon Ingram.
The Lakers said no thanks.
Smart move by the Lakers.
Ingram is a promising 19-year old rookie. Cousins isn’t making the Lakers playoff team this season or next. And when it doesn’t happen quickly, you know how Cousins is going to react. The guy has been a ticking time bomb for at least five seasons no, always in the Top 5 in technical fouls.
Who needs that headache? Not to mention if the Lakers finish outside the Top 3, they’ll lose their 1st round pick. It would have been a disastrous move that would have set the franchise back even further.
Has everyone already forgotten that for half of the last college basketball season, there was a spirited debate about whether Ingram or Ben Simmons would be the No. 1 overall pick? Ingram is that talented.
Ingram’s shooting 36/30/65 as a rookie, which is atrocious, but it’s early. Here are a few other recent prominent rookies who entered the league early, struggled in their 1st year, but turned out to be pretty decent players:
Kawhi Leonard’s rookie year was interesting (albeit on a contender in San Antonio): He only played 24 minutes per game (Ingram is at 27), took six shots per game (Ingram is at seven), and averaged 7.9 points (Ingram is at 8.0). Yes, I realize Leonard and Ingram are different players with different games and came into the league with different expectations.
Leonard shot 49/37, but he was playing with three Hall of Fame veterans. Ingram is playing on a young team with a couple guys in their 30s chucking (Lou Williams, Nick Young), and a 1st time head coach.
The future’s bright for the Lakers. They started strong this season, but tailed off significantly. They’re a work-in-progress. Russell should make the leap next year, and I expect Ingram to be right there with him improving dramatically.
* Fine, Buddy Hield isn’t a spare part, but he’s a 23-year old rookie who may have maxed out at Oklahoma, where he was a big-time shooting star. He shot 39/36 in New Orleans, and that was with Anthony Davis.