Heading into the 2019-20 NBA season, there were plenty of questions about New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram. Could he stay healthy? Could all that tantalizing potential finally translate into consistent play? Was he worth a max contract?
The 22-year-old responded with a career year in which he averaged 24.3 points, 6.3 boards, 4.3 assists and one steal per game prior to the NBA suspending play in March due to the coronavirus. And for busting the entire league’s ass, he was named this season’s Most Improved Player:
A first-time NBA All-Star selection in his fourth season, the 22-year-old Ingram becomes the first player to win the Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award with New Orleans. The annual award is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.
Ingram received 42 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earned 326 total points. He edged Miami Heat center-forward Bam Adebayo, who finished in second place with 295 points (38 first-place votes). Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić finished in third place with 101 points (12 first-place votes).
If you’re like me and wondering how Ingram responded to finding out that he won such a prestigious honor, you’re welcome in advance.
Ingram was surprised by Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, teammate Lonzo Ball, and his own family during the announcement.
There’s no doubt that the Duke product held it down this season for the Pelicans, but Ingram does have his detractors—myself included—who believe other players *COUGH* Bam Adebayo *COUGH* were more deserving of the award.
But the jury has spoken and both Adebayo and Jason Tatum are probably too busy competing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals (for those keeping track at home, yes, that was shade) to pay any attention to the backlash that Ingram is receiving. So congrats to Ingram…I guess.