When LeBron James made his L.A. arrival, he knew it would take some time before they got another star. For Magic, Rob, and the rest of the Lakers brass though, they were hoping that second star was someone already on the roster.
Right away, Brandon Ingram was hailed as that guy, being called the “Pippen” To LeBron. Yet, if you ask some NBA executives, Brandon Ingram isn’t the name that comes up when asking about L.A.’s #2.
“After dropping 41 points on the Pistons on Wednesday night, it’s fair to say Kuzma has claimed the mantle, at least for the time being,” writes ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz.
“He can both spread the floor and create off the bounce, which is more than we can say for the rest of the roster. Kuzma’s defense has improved, though he still doesn’t give the Lakers the flexibility to truly go small because he’s a liability at the 5. There’s still hope that Brandon Ingram can assert himself, but at present he’s simply not enough of a shooter, not sufficiently creative and not enough of a defensive presence to warrant consideration.”
It’s true that Kyle Kuzma has stepped up the most since the arrival of LeBron. Whether that’s good news or bad news for the Lakers is, for now, indeterminable, but it’s certainly a reality nobody expected.
As the team attempts to stop the bleeding since the fall of LeBron James early this month, they’ll need more from everybody or risk missing out on the playoffs entirely.