LeBron James will play the role of Batman for the Los Angeles Lakers next season but for the first time in eight years, he won't have an All-Star teammate as his Robin.
Instead, he'll have to rely on one of the team's rising young stars to fill that void and the man likeliest to do so is Brandon Ingram.
The 21-year-old will be heading into his third season in the league and he's primed to make his biggest leap yet as a player.
Embracing the pressure
Ingram has shown a steady progression in his two years, posting career numbers across the board in his sophomore campaign.
He averaged a team-high 16.1 points, along with 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He also shot a career-best 47 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
As well as his impressive numbers, the small forward showed versatility last year as he filled in at point guard while the team had several injuries in that department.
He added playmaking to his skill set for the purple and gold and was prepared to do whatever was asked of him on the floor.
The former Duke product will have to contribute even more next season but mainly in terms of scoring.
With the likes of Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson also signed this summer, the Lakers are well stocked in the playmaking department.
But outside of LeBron, it's not so easy to see where their volume scoring will come from.
Sharing the scoring load
That responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Ingram as he'll have to develop into a reliable number two option alongside the four-time MVP.
In recent years, he's had All-Stars such as Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to occupy that role.
Ingram isn't at that level but he definitely aspires to be and isn't afraid of the challenge that awaits him.
He may not get an opportunity to play on the ball as much but he's still hoping to impact the game in many ways this season.
“A guy that can do everything on the basketball floor, whether it’s on the defensive end, getting deflections, getting steals, blocking shots (or) rebounding the basketball," said Ingram, when describing what type of player he wants to become.
“On the offensive end, shooting beyond the three, having an in-between game, getting to the basket.
"A guy that lives on the free throw line. Just different ways to manipulate the game.”
Fast-track to stardom
The 2016 number two overall pick is destined to become an All-Star at some point in his career but with an expectation for the Lakers to make the playoffs this year, there will be pressure on him to reach a new level quicker than anticipated.
But there's no doubt that the franchise has total faith in him and are looking to build around him in the future.
Learning from James both on and off the floor will allow the swingman to become a better player.
Magic Johnson has already stated that he expects him to be impacted the most by the King's presence.
“I want to put LeBron with him every day. September, then training camp, and then also in practice, on the bus, on the planes," Johnson told ESPN in July.
"These young guys didn’t really have a veteran to really teach them when we drafted them.
"So now they have not only the best player in the world but a world champion. And this guy, LeBron, man, he’s in such top shape today. And this is July.
"So that’ll help them understand how to train, how to also eat right, on and on and on.
"I think the guy who LeBron is going to have the biggest impact on is Brandon Ingram. Because he has the size and length to be really special.”
With his ridiculous length, he's been compared to Kevin Durant and there's no reason why he can't live up to it as he has immense potential.
In anticipation of a huge season ahead for the purple and gold, Ingram has spent a lot of time in the team's practice facility and looks ready to take that next step.
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