The New Orleans Pelicans might be off to a slow 0-4 start but there has been one massive positive from the first four games: Brandon Ingram’s arrival.
The New Orleans Pelicans finished the 2019 preseason with a perfect 5-0 record and got every fan excited for the year to come. The hype was quickly diminished as it was announced that Zion Williamson would be out for 6-8 weeks and since then the team has lost all four regular-season games.
It is not completely pinned on not having Zion but the Pelicans have been in three of the four games, and with Zion, you could make the case that the outcome of the game would have swung.
But hey, the year is still early and the last thing we should do is panic over a slow start. This is a young team with inexperience that is missing Zion and has been without Jrue Holiday the last two games.
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In Zion and Holiday’s absence, though, there has been one notable player that has stepped up tremendously: Brandon Ingram. Ingram was one of the players that we tasked to step up with Zion out and he has been nothing short of phenomenal through four games.
Ingram is averaging 27.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game through four games.
Let’s be real: these averages are not going to hold up. Not only is there an extremely small sample size but his scoring numbers, at least, are naturally going to go down with Holiday and Zion on the court. However, the talent won’t simply disappear, and through four games, we can officially say that Brandon Ingram has arrived.
This is not some random breakout stretch that will eventually fizzle out, as Jeremy Lin did during Linsanity. This is a young prospect who is in a contract year that has been expected to break out for years now and is finally living up to that potential.
He is no longer shackled by a superstar forward in LeBron James and got out of a franchise that has not had the best culture in recent years. He was gifted a fresh start and it is now apparent that he needed it.
Ingram is not going to lose his lethal mid-range shot, his knockdown fall-away or his proficient three-point shot, although he probably won’t shoot 50 percent from the three-point line all season.
His lengthy frame makes him a natural rebounder and while those numbers may go down when Zion returns and plays the four, he is only going to become an above-average rebounder for a small forward.
What we have seen a lot of this year that we saw flashes of in Los Angeles but it never developed is his ability as a point forward. He showed NBA fans that he could do it in Los Angeles and is backing that up by actually doing it in New Orleans.
Ingram can push the pace of the offense and can take over playmaking and facility duties when needed. He’s lethal off-ball, he’s lethal on the ball and he is only making his teammates better.
His size has garnered comparisons to Kevin Durant his entire career and Ingram has a long way to go to even be in the same breath as one of the best basketball players to ever lace it up. However, he is starting to show that he does have a similar skill-set to Kevin Durant, and even if he is only 80 percent of what Durant is, he will still be a bonafide all-star.
Brandon Ingram has arrived, ladies and gentlemen. The New Orleans Pelicans already got a great return for Anthony Davis and it is now looking even better.