Brandon Ingram, playing like an All-Star for Pelicans, has ‘no bad blood’ toward Lakers

first_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Related Articles NEW ORLEANS — Take your head off? Brandon Ingram?It’s hard to imagine the soft-spoken, willowy framed 22-year-old carrying out what Anthony Davis suggested when he said the former Lakers, who were packed away in this summer’s blockbuster trade would be ready to “try to take our heads off just to prove a point.” And Ingram himself didn’t seem to agree with the premise, either.“It’s no bad blood,” he said Tuesday afternoon, as he weighed the upcoming matchup against his former team. “It’s all respect to that organization. That’s the organization that drafted us, so they made our dreams come true.”Then again, Ingram’s mild-mannered ways belie just what he’s been doing for the New Orleans Pelicans since the former Lakers lottery pick was traded for Davis in June. He’s leading his new team in scoring – in fact, averaging more points (26.1 ppg) than either LeBron James (25.6) or Davis (25.1) are for the Lakers. A shot selection that was once defined by Ingram’s reluctance to attempt 3-pointers now has him lofting more than five per game, and he’s making nearly 46 percent of them. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersMaybe the way Ingram has been playing since returning from season-ending thoracic outlet surgery should scare the Lakers, though not in the way Davis imagined. While his Pelicans go into Wednesday night’s game in the bottom third of the Western Conference standings, there’s been mounting evidence that New Orleans got at least one star back for Davis, the former face of their franchise. Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball, while struggling with injuries early on, have also provided additional rays of hope that a Pelicans team that started 6-11 has more potential left to reach.The players the Lakers once called their “young core” still want to prove they were worth investing in, but they also project a kind of Zen that they can do that in New Orleans instead of Los Angeles. That attitude is broken by the occasional slip up – Hart implied on his podcast that the Lakers were an organization he was happy to depart, and ESPN reported that he called team officials and players to apologize.But even Hart said Tuesday that he had gained a little more perspective about what happened.“It’s a growing situation for everyone in that situation,” he said. “Everyone is kind of where they’re supposed to be and everyone’s doing well. Like I said, A.D.’s doing well. B.I.’s having that All-Star-caliber year. ’Zo and myself are having better years. It’s cool. We’re all having fun.”It’s a feeling that projects out to Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who said he’s been pleased with his young players, even as he recognized they’ll need some time to mesh into his system. Gentry understands that Ball, Hart or Ingram might be ready to gun for their former team, but advised them to just play the way they’ve been playing – advice that helped them win five of their previous nine games going into the matchup with the Lakers.center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Even Jrue Holiday, a close friend of Davis who had hopes for a better start, said he isn’t feeling impatient with the Pelicans’ early record. He worked out with Davis in the offseason and exchanged trash talk as their respective rosters came together. But the SoCal native and former UCLA standout who said he’s glad to live outside L.A. County will also gladly line up alongside the teammates he has now.“I love the guys we have here,” he said. “I love playing with them. I love the heart that they have. That’s the main thing. We’re young. But I feel like we see a lot of good things out of us.”Every Lakers fan is bound to entertain what-ifs, and it’s clear that Ball, Hart, and Ingram have too. What if Ball, one of the team’s best distributors and defenders, hadn’t been lost for the season in January? What if Ingram, who had been on a career-best tear, hadn’t required shoulder surgery in March?Hart and Ingram both acknowledged lingering briefly on these questions (Ball did not attend Tuesday’s practice with an illness). But inevitably, it’s more constructive to move forward.“At the beginning stages, I thought a lot about what happened, but everything happens for a reason,” Ingram said. “I looked at the recovery, I looked at what I could’ve done after the recovery was done. I’m happy where I am now.” Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers last_img

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