Lakers’ Brandon Ingram throws down one-handed dunk over Kings’ Georgios Papagiannis

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers’ rising star does not have Larry Nance Jr.’s athleticism. But that did not stop Brandon Ingram from soaring into the air.

At 6-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Ingram does not have Julius Randle’s power and his 6-foot-9, 250 pound frame to bully nearly anyone guarding him. But that did not stop Ingram from preventing anyone from pushing him around.

After grabbing a looseball, Ingram brought the ball up the court. He drove by a defender on the perimeter. He flashed past a helpside defender in the lane. And even with another defender leaping into the air in the paint, Ingram still soared and threw down a one-handed dunk. While that sequence represented one play in the Lakers’ 98-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday at Staples Center, Ingram’s one-handed dunk over the Kings’ Georgios Papagiannis a “different mentality” the Lakers’ forward said he has harbored since the All-Star break nearly 1 1/2 months ago.

“Just attacking the rim,” Ingram said. “The kast couple of games, I’m just using my length and attacking the rim and going until somebody stops me.”

As Ingram discovered, plenty of defenders have struggled stopping him. He posted 14 points on 6-of-14 shooting, two rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes as he wore kinesio tape to protect the tendinitis in his right knee that he insists “feels great.” Even if he has played on a minutes restriction last week since missing three games to heal his right knee, Ingram has hardly played with any restrictions on the court.

He has thrown down dunks against the Raptors, the Spurs, the Nuggets and the Bucks. Yet, that should not be surprising considering Ingram has worked with Lakers assistant coach Brian Keefe on his finishing after practices and before games.

“It comes naturally when you do it repetitively every single day,” Ingram said.

He has shown a strong improvement in his shot. After averaging 8.2 points on 37.1 percent shooting through February, Ingram averaged 13.5 points on a 51.7 percent clip in 11 appearances in March.

“He keeps working. I’m not surprised he got here,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Obviously he puts in the time. He’s a gym rat and is watching film every day on other players. He watches his own clips with assistant coaches. It doesn’t surprise me he’s starting to figure it out.”

Just because Ingram has started to figure it out, though, does not mean he thinks he has figured everything out.

“You can always do more, whether it’s leading the team or making the team win or being aware on the basketball floor,” Ingram said. “You can always do more.”

And it sounds like Ingram can always do more dunking. With his offseason centering on bulking up his strength through weight training and nutrition, Ingram smiled when asked if that will yield to more finishes at the rim during his rookie season.

“Of course,” Ingram said, smiling.


Lakers torment pro-tank fans, top Kings for 3rd win in a row

Tyler Ennis hopes Lakers retain him in free agency

What Strategies Will the Lakers’ Front Office Employ in This Crucial Upcoming Offseason?

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.