The NBA has taken their time to make public this season’s individual awards, but this Monday August 31st, one of the most awaited announcements was made, the league’s Most Improved Player Award, and the winner is former LA Lakers young talent, and current New Orleans Pelicans star, Brandon Ingram.
Ingram was traded to the Pelicans during the offseason, as part of the deal that brought Anthony Davis to the Lakers to pair up with LeBron James. Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball were also sent to New Orleans by the Lakers. Ingram showed quite a lot of good features in his three seasons with the Lakers, but was an on and off guy usually, and the team needed consistency to try to reach the playoffs, that’s why they decided to keep another young talent like Kyle Kuzma, and bring over the big guns, with “The Brow”.
Ingram took this new challenge personally, we might say, and put up the best numbers of his career so far, in his first season in New Orleans, becoming a fundamental piece of the team, that also added NBA’s newest superstar, Zion Williamson. There is lots of expectation around this noticeably young team, and performances like Ingram’s, just keep setting the bar higher. As if this wasn’t enough, the Pelicans will also get the NBA Draft’s 13th pick this year, so they will be able to add even more young talent to the lineup, if they make a good choice,
What are Brandon Ingram’s numbers this year, compared to his Lakers’ stats?
We’ll review his numbers soon enough, but one important fact to bring up at this point is that the Pelicans used Ingram in a different position this year, in the Lakers he always played as a Small Forward, or at least that’s how he was listed, but in New Orleans he took the role of a Power Forward, which gave him a boost, as we see.
LA Lakers, 2016-2017: 9.4 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 28.8 minutes, 79 games played, but only 40 starts.
LA Lakers, 2017-2018: 16.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 33.5 minutes, 59 games played and 59 starts.
LA Lakers, 2018-2019: 18.3 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 33.8 minutes, 52 games and 52 starts.
New Orleans Pelicans, 2019-2020: 23.8 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 33.9 minutes played in a total of 62 games played and started.
We can see Ingram’s evolution clearly, and how he has fought hard to improve year after year, but definitely, his trade to the Pelicans gave him the ultimate push, he now has a team where he can be the star, and that depends on him a little bit more, something that did not happen back in Los Angeles.
Will he be able to keep improving his game and become one of NBA’s biggest superstars? At the age of 22 anything can happen, and awards like this one make us realize that we might be witnesses right now of great things to come, mostly if we consider the potential of the team he’s playing for, and the players he’s now surrounded with.