Lakers’ Magic Johnson Fully Expects Brandon Ingram to Average 20 Points Per Game Next Year

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Not yet a year into his gig as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson has made a habit of putting pressure on the young players that he hopes to elevate the franchise to its former glory.

The latest recipient of predictive praise is Lakers wing Brandon Ingram, who led all rookies in minutes a season ago but was also one of the least efficient players in the NBA, shooting 40.2 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from the three-point line, and 62.1 percent from the charity stripe for 9.4 points per game.

Johnson, though, thinks the Duke alum, who’s still 19 years old for another month, will more than double last season’s scoring output in 2017-18.

“I expect him to lead us in scoring, be out there and be the man. It’s his team,” Johnson recently told the Orange County Register of Ingram. “It would be disappointing if he didn’t score up toward 20 points a game.”

Johnson described the thin, versatile wing as the type of player a team needs to win.

“The guy only cares about winning and basketball,” Johnson said. “He’s quiet and doesn’t do anything else. He is a very intelligent young man and is our hardest worker.”

In a press conference a month ago, Magic called new Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball the “new face of the franchise,” adding that he expects the UCLA alum to play so well he has his jersey retired.

“I’m going to put a little pressure on you right now,” Johnson said to Ball. “You look to your right, there’s some jerseys hanging on that wall. We expect a Ball jersey hanging up there one day, all right? Good.”