It’s a cliche at this point when athletes announce they’re in the best shape of their lives as the offseason ends. Less common, though, is when an athlete claims their actual shape has changed; lengthened, in the case of Brandon Ingram.
Importantly, Ingram himself didn’t make this case; rather, it was NBA.com Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell, talking about Ingram on his own ESPN LA radio show. Trudell claimed Ingram has grown taller in the offseason:
“I think he’s at least 6’10”. He might be 6’11”. … I think he might be 6’11”, if not 7 feet,” Trudell said.
Ingram has not, however, been formally measured. It’s also possible the listed 6’9″ height sold him short.
According to Trudell, the 2016 No. 2 pick said he altered his shooting mechanics and improved his leg strength. Ingram made strides late last season and during the Las Vegas Summer League, and Trudell opined that the forward has since progressed.
Normally it’s best to take things like this with a helping of salt; while NBA players are young, typically high-level basketball talent has finished developing physically, aside from the ability to add muscle and weight via conditioning. That’s generally what marks those players as able to play NBA basketball at a young age. But in Ingram’s case, he did just turn 20 earlier this month, and it’s not impossible that he added an inch or two.
Whether or not that really matters, though, is another question entirely. He’s going to be a stretch 4 regardless, and it’s the improved leg strength and shooting mechanics that are likely to make a much bigger difference, regardless of height, as Ingram’s shooting was his calling card as a prospect, and playing alongside Lonzo Ball (and, eventually, whichever max-level players end up in Los Angeles *cough Paul george cough*) he’s going to end up on the receiving end of more open looks, whether he’s 6’8″ or 7’2″.