The issue has hovered over Brandon Ingram like a pesky defender. It’s been more discussed than his intriguing jump shot and positional versatility.So when Ingram trained with the U.S. Select team in Las Vegas this summer, it hardly seemed surprising he elicited countless inquiries about his rail-thin physique. Reporters were not the only ones who brought it up, though.Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant also broached the subject. This time, Ingram was eager to address his 6-foot-9, 190-pound frame with his childhood idol, namely because of the unique perspective he provided.“He was telling me to be patient and not rush everything,” the Lakers’ No. 2 draft pick said. “When guys like him tell me that, I believe in him. He’s putting on weight and is doing great in this league.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The Lakers (2-3) play host to the Warriors (3-1) on Friday at Staples Center with Durant as the headliner for multiple reasons. He wouldn’t even take a meeting with the Lakers to let them make a free-agent sales pitch in July, then left Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State. Durant went into Thursday’s game against the Thunder averaging 28.5 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals per game.Well before Durant established his credentials in a 10-year NBA career that includes a league MVP (2014) and seven All-Star appearances (2010-2016), the Warriors forward faced scrutiny about his strength as a thinly framed No. 2 pick out of Texas.He entered his NBA rookie season with the then-Seattle Sonics in 2007 listed at 6-9 and 215 pounds. The Seattle Times cited a confidential pre-draft document that revealed Durant could not bench press 185 pounds. The Portland Trail Blazers drafted Ohio State center Greg Oden ahead of Durant partly because of Oden’s superior strength.Since then, Durant has bulked up to 240 pounds and downplayed his previous weaknesses in the weight room. And while Durant has grown into one of the league’s most dominant scorers and versatile players, Oden played only three NBA seasons because of multiple knee surgeries.That explains why Durant “never really believed in” the concern surrounding his thin frame. Durant dismissed the same criticism of Ingram, adding that he “could see why he’s picked No. 2.” “The narrative comes from the outside. If that came from GMs, he wouldn’t have been picked No. 2. So he must have been doing something right,” Durant said. “A lot of players might be stronger than him, but they don’t have the other things. He’s a sponge. He wants to get better and he wants to learn. Those are much more important than lifting 185 pounds.”Ingram nodded his head as Durant’s words were relayed back to him, adding that the feedback “means a lot coming from a guy that I have looked up to” for the past decade.Ingram rooted for the Sonics after admiring the skills Durant showed in college, with his outside shooting, post presence and positional versatility. Ingram has a copy of Durant’s rookie card and jokingly said he will buy Durant’s jersey “maybe when I retire.”For now, Ingram remains intent on fulfilling a different childhood dream.“I try to compare my game and pattern it after him. But at the end of the day, I want to be Brandon Ingram,” he said. “When I grew up, I always wanted to be just like him. But I think the comparison is beyond my years. The comparison is more when he came into the league.”The Lakers share that sentiment.“I don’t think any comparison to any player of Kevin Durant’s talent to a young kid is fair,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “Brandon has the opportunity to become that type of special player. But to compare him right now at the age of 19 is a little unfair.”Nonetheless, the way Walton assembled his coaching staff could help Ingram’s quest to model his game after Durant. Walton hired Brian Keefe as one of his assistants after Keefe spent time as an assistant with the New York Knicks (2013-15) and with the Thunder (2009-2013). Keefe originally was the franchise’s player development coach in Seattle and Oklahoma City (2007-09), giving him unique insight on Durant’s growth.“The idea that he was with a young team in Oklahoma City and was part of that buildup was definitely something on his side,” Walton said of Keefe. “But the reason we brought him here was because every reference I called said nothing but great things about him.”Still, Keefe’s insight about Durant is one of the reasons Ingram has enjoyed working with him. The Lakers declined to make Keefe available for comment, but Ingram credited Keefe for helping with his footwork and balance. Keefe also put together a daily workout for Ingram that mirrored Durant’s regimen.“That’s ironic,” Ingram said of the connection. “Coming in, I didn’t know he worked with (Durant). It’s helped me a lot with his teaching and the routine that he has given me to work on every day.”That instruction also shaped Durant’s development.“It seems like everything has come full circle. Brian’s teaching Brandon the same stuff he taught me when I came into the league,” Durant said. “Brandon has what every great player has, that want to get better and that want to go out there and compete.”Ingram had the same thought process when he matched up against Durant in two preseason games last month. As Ingram acknowledged, “when you’re going against one of your idols, you want to get a piece of him.”It did not take long, though, for Durant to get a piece of Ingram. In one game, Durant stuffed Ingram’s shot as he attacked the basket, but Ingram stayed aggressive looking for his shot and defending Durant.Afterward, Durant provided more feedback on how Ingram can affect the game by scoring in different ways and using his versatility. Durant walked away with increased optimism about Ingram’s trajectory.“I’ve seen the skills. I’ve seen the length, the effort and the competitiveness. He looks like a quiet, reserved and nonchalant kid. But when he steps in between the lines, he just wants to play,” Durant said. “I have nothing but good things to say and nothing but support for him. I’ll be here no matter what, trying to encourage him and helping him out through the process.”It sounds like he’s already helped. Ingram echoes Durant’s perspective on the weight issue.“I don’t think weight matters at all,” Ingram said. “Of course, you need to get stronger. But it’s all about will, talent and skill level. The work you put in on the basketball floor will help me build over time.”Ingram can look at Durant for validation. Durant can look at Ingram and imagine the same thing happening again.