Luka Doncic, Brandon Ingram headline NBA Most Improved Player Ladder

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NBA New Orleans Pelicans Brandon Ingram

NBA New Orleans Pelicans Brandon Ingram. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)


Brandon Ingram

A little more than three years after the Los Angeles Lakers tabbed Duke freshman Brandon Ingram as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he was part of the mother lode the New Orleans Pelicans landed in July in exchange for sending superstar Anthony Davis to L.A.

Ingram came to the Pelicans along with fellow former No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, the rights to De’Andre Hunter — later traded to Atlanta — two first-round draft picks and the right to swap picks in 2023. New Orleans got a 9-30 protected pick for 2021 which becomes unprotected in 2022 and L.A.’s 2024 first-rounder (which can be deferred to 2025 by the Pelicans).

Ingram, who will become a free agent at the end of this season, will almost certainly be a restricted free agent, but in what is generally seen as a weak free-agent class, Ingram could get a max offer sheet that the Pelicans might not be OK with matching.

Coming back from missing the final 19 games last season with a blood clot under his right armpit, Ingram has been a scoring savant so far this season. He’s averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.0 blocks in 34.0 minutes per game, shooting .492/.423/.838 in 18 games (he sat for four games in mid-November with a sprained ankle).

That is markedly up from 18.3 points, 5.1 boards and 3.0 dimes in 33.8 minutes a season ago with shooting splits of .497/.330/.675.

Per 36 minutes, Ingram is at 26.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 blocks, up from 19.4 points, 5.5 boards and 3.2 helpers in 2018-19 for the Lakers.

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