Last season, Brandon Ingram made himself a home name in the NBA world. Pelicans fans call Ingram “BI, Kingram, or Baby Durant” in his many nicknames.
But his performances during the Play-In Tournament and first round of the NBA Playoffs, Ingram was one of the rising stars in the league. Considering the circumstances, Ingram raised his game and his team to unimaginable heights.
Ingram is heading in time with something to prove. He started his campaign with the Pelicans in 2019 by becoming an All-Star for the first time, winning the Most Improved Player award, and averaging a career-high 23.8 points per game. He immediately signed a 5 -year, $ 158 million contract extension.
Expectations are high for next season, paired with Zion Williamson. Will the Pelicans make it to the playoffs? That didn’t happen, and the Pelicans headed back into the offseason with more questions than answers.
Those questions intensified when the Pelicans started this season 3-16 with a rookie head coach (his 3rd coach in 3 seasons). Adding to his problem with a terrible start to the season, Zion Williamson is gone, and time seems to be no longer saved.
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How would Ingram respond?
First, he and newly acquired CJ McCollum led the team in the Play-In Tournament.
Ingram was unique during the home stretch at a time when the Pelicans needed wins to make Play-In games. In recent weeks, the Lakers ’clashes have been the two biggest games of the season. Of those crucial wins, Ingram averaged 27.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and six assists and kept his best when the spotlight was brightest.
The Pelicans are in a win-or-go-home scenario, and Ingram is the main factor in the Pelicans ’progress.
In the Spurs game, Ingram scored 27 points, grabbed five rebounds, and five assists. He followed up with a 30-point, 6 rebounds, 6 assist effort on the road against the Clippers to lift the Pelicans to the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2018. Ingram then elevated his game to the biggest stage.
Appearing in his first playoff series, Ingram averaged 27 points, six rebounds, and six assists in six games against defending conference champion Phoenix Suns. He became the first Pelicans player to score at least 30 points in three consecutive playoff games. His performance caught the attention of the national media. Suddenly, Ingram is in headline conversations among the best in the NBA.
He answers every skeptic about his ability to lead a team and be a successful player. Ingram’s time is proven so far, as the theme song of Cheers says, “everyone knows his name.”