Ingram's status rose dramatically throughout Duke's season. He was considered a lottery talent entering the year and answered the questions critics had about his jump shot and ball-handling, emerging to rival Ben Simmons to go first overall in the draft. With Simmons ultimately going No. 1 to the Philadelphia 76ers, it wasn't a difficult choice for the Lakers to scoop up Ingram with the second pick and add him to their young core that also includes D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, who's expected to be re-signed this summer.
There's plenty to like about Ingram, who projects as a guard-forward combo early in his career. At 6'9, he's a superb ball handler, more than capable of making plays for himself and others. His jump shot isn't as consistent as his 41 percent mark on three-pointers at Duke would indicate, but his smooth mechanics don't sound any alarms. He's a talented, polished scorer, easily incorporating jab steps and understanding how to keep defenses guessing by not falling in love with any one move. Best of all, Ingram won't turn 19 until September, meaning there's plenty of time for him to continue to develop.
The herky-jerky limbs he's known for need plenty of work for him to be able to excel in the NBA. Ingram will need to size up from the modest 190 pounds he boasted with the Blue Devils. There's plenty of all-around polishing needed for him, too, as you'd expect for an 18-year-old with just a year of college experience. But there are glimpses of a talent comparable to that of other long-limbed athletes like Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Ingram when he's at his best.
A 50-second highlight video doesn't do Ingram justice, though. He's full of the intangibles coaches love: clever on the offensive glass, physically tough, with the ability to corral loose balls. Ingram is way more than a tall shooter, even if his ceiling in the NBA is actually a bit short of the Durant comparison made above.
Ingram doesn't stand out much as a defender, even though his impressive wingspan indicates that he could one day grow into one. The lateral quickness he has displayed thus far doesn't make that a guarantee, and while that occasionally manifests in blocks and steals, Ingram still has a long way to go.
With a 1:1 assist-turnover ratio, Ingram's playmaking skills are still a work in progress, too. There are times when he'll rip down a rebound and make a play going coast to coast, but there are others when he isn't able to read the defense and turns the ball over too easily. Assuming he'll improve just because he's young has backfired historically in many instances.
Still, the Lakers have to believe they can turn Ingram into an All-Star level scorer who could even carry the team back to greatness.