featured image credited to theringer.com
Brandon Ingram as of now is currently proving to be the stud that NBA scouts believed he’s been on draft night. The second overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, a draft with Ben Simmons, Pascal Siakim, Jamaal Murray, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jaylen Brown, is finally coming into his own in his 4th season. After a season of controversy, Trade talks, loss of faith, and speculation, BI is finally in a position to break out, and he is in a whole new setting. Right now through 5 games, he is averaging 26.8 ppg,8.2 RPG, 4.8aspg, on 25.40 PER. He is also currently shooting 50% from three and 51% overall. Although the Pelicans are 1-4 right now, That is still a good start to a season and what looks like a promising breakout season for this young buck. In this post, I will give 5 reasons as to why Brandon Ingram will have a breakout season, and prove why he was picked #2 overall.
- A new start, New opportunities
Brandon Ingram was traded alongside Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and the #4 overall pick to New Orleans for Anthony Davis during 2019 offseason. BI gets a fresh start in a new city that is a small market and loves its football and basketball. Much like Victor Oladipo with Indiana, Ingram gets the opportunity to start over, especially after playing with a lot of pressure next to a great player, I’ll get to that in another reason. With the flurry of expectations and controversy, BI proved to be underwhelming, especially when having to share the ball with a plethora of playmakers such as Rondo and Lebron James. Plus with the spotlight of The lakers where he was expected to be so great so fast, I think LA failed to develop him properly and It proved to reveal why he didn’t create a great season. This is evident with the likes of Diangelo Russell and Julius Randle, who both had breakout seasons after LA gave up on them. In New Orleans, BI has taken advantage of the opportunity to break out in this new setting, and so far he is not disappointing. Especially with his efficiency, which is very important in today’s game.
- He learned from a great player first hand
Last season, Brandon Ingram played next to the greatest basketball player of our generation, and arguably of all time in LeBron James. This first-hand experience, being next to an all-time great player is an experience like no other. Watching their work ethic, how they treat their body, how they train, and their day-to-day life Isa first-hand experience that yields significant contribution to a young player. This is especially fruitful when it’s experienced from a player that plays the same position. This a momentous lesson for a young player trying to find their way in the game. Playing next to LeBron James, Brandon Ingram got a chance to learn the nuances of the game. How to be a better player, where to be and where to go on the court at any given time.
From what we saw there was a problematic positioning with LeBron James and Brandon Ingram being on the floor together. This is mainly because Brandon Ingram is a ball-handling small forward, and playing next to LeBron James who is a playmaking small forward at heart would bode ill for BI. Brandon didn’t get the ball as much as he’s used to in this offense. On top of that when he did get the ball he had to make quick decisions, and they didn’t always prove to be fruitful. LeBron’s patience is short, so mistakes can prove to be fatal while on the court with LeBron. But that’s only because when you have a great player they expect great things.
It is not a bad thing, it’s just tough when you’re playing next to someone who expects so much from you and expects so much for themselves so any room for error is limited. However, the experience from playing alongside a LeBron James can contribute significantly to Brandon Ingram’s growth break out this season and it is shown in how Brandon Ingram is playing now with his efficiency up, his scoring up, his rebounding up, and his assists up in this short part of the season. This is much like Victor Oladipo when he played with Russ, then became an all-star in Indiana the next season. Bi’s experience with Lebron is starting to mirror that scenario, hopefully, it can become greater than that.
- He is part of an organization that has his full backing
David Griffin is quoted to have given praise to Brandon Ingram even before trading for him, New Orleans is a small-market team with a young core that they’re looking to build grow and develop with, and it is my belief that they have full faith in Brandon Ingram’s growth. with the likes of Lonzo Ball, and Zion Williamson on his team, this team is poised to be a great young team that will shock a lot of teams this year when Zion comes back from injury. Also, like I said before this is a small-market team that loves its basketball. And is willing to be patient with this young core, the Pelicans have full faith in the youth especially Brandon Ingram and that is important. Especially when you have a team like Los Angeles who gave up on their young players in the trade for Anthony Davis. But it is Anthony Davis, when a player who was a once-in-a-generation talent is available you throw the entire kitchen sink for. However, La has a track record for giving up on its young players. D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, are two examples of this as I said before. Where is who I promised and could have been part of a core of a great young Los Angeles Lakers team we giving up too soon. Granite D’Angelo Russell was a cancer in the locker room and had to be traded. He became an all-star last season as well. However, Julius Randle was a great piece that would have fit well with LeBron James and could have done some great things. He’s doing well now he had a great breakout season with New Orleans last year, he is now in New York having a good season. Now, with this young team working to grow and develop and see what they’re capable of, New Orleans has a lot of faith in this youth movement and that is great for young players trying to get their games together. Especially with a general manager was Full Faith in them, and actually Praises them from time to time.
- His peers got paid
The likes of Jamal Murray, Ben Simmons, Jaylen Brown, Pascal Siakam, and Malcolm Brogdon, all got paid this summer through the rookie extensions. All four of these players from the same draft class as Brandon Ingram. now those four players each had made the playoffs and one is an NBA champion. So the compensation for them getting their rookie extensions is reasonable. But now it’s Brandon Ingram’s turn, the Pelicans elected to not extend his rookie contract and he will be a restricted free agent this summer. Meaning this is a Proving Ground for Brandon Ingram, meaning he will do his best to prove that he’s worth the millions of dollars that the rest of his peers are worth. And in my personal opinion, I think he’s worth more than 3 out of the five players that got paid this offseason. Plus the extension money looks amazing, Jaylen Brown got paid 115 million, Ben Simmons got a hundred seventy million. That’s a lot of dollars. And when players in his contract year he’s known to have a great season, or attempt to have a great season. So this season is going to be a long season of Brandon Ingram proving while he deserves a good hundred million plus from either the Pelicans or another team if they choose not to match his offer sheet from another team.
- He gets to be a focal point of the offense
Brandon Ingram now is in the position to be the number one option on his team. Last season in Los Angeles he had to share scoring responsibilities with Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James. This season he is the number one option. And everyone has the hype surrounding Zion Williamson. However, in my personal opinion, I don’t think Zion is a number one option. Although Zion can create with the ball in his hands, I believe Zion is best without the ball in his hands moving around and creating diversions. Meaning that Brandon Ingram can be a primary ball-handler when Lonzo Ball doesn’t have the ball, and creating for his teammates or scoring the basketball. Plus the fact that he’s the best scorer on the team, and is proven with his statistic this season. Now there are a lot of Playmakers on that team, Lonzo ball and Jrue holiday for an example. However Brandon Ingram I believe is the best player offensively. being a 6-9 lanky small forward with a 7-3 wingspan, with a deadly mid-range jump shot and a slowly improving 3-point range, the ability to Slither through the lane and create at The Rim which he is underrated at. Brandon Ingram is poised to be a number one option for a very long time and it’s proving that with his 26.8 points per game this season so far. Plus, there are not a lot of scoring options on that team, a lot of players on that team need the ball passed to them in order to score. Jahlil Okafor and Jrue Holiday are the only players I believe can create his own shot, but Jahlil Okafor is a big man and really creates a shot under the rim. So yes, Brandon Ingram is the focal point and will be the best scorer on their team and will most likely score the most points as he is right now even when Zion comes back.
These are my 5 reasons for BI’s breakout season. thank you for reading