New Orleans Pelicans: Brandon Ingram is Playing Like a Young Kevin Durant

The New Orleans Pelicans’ All-Star forward is playing like a young Durant and the numbers back it up.

When Brandon Ingram was struggling alongside LeBron James on the Lakers, many wondered if he would ever reach the considerable potential he has shown while becoming an All-Star for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Ingram may have wondered the same thing himself, as the young star admitted that things just didn’t click with the Lakers in a lengthy interview with Bleacher Report. Ingram said he “lost joy” at times while playing for Los Angeles.

Ingram seems to have regained his love of the game since the New Orleans Pelicans made him the centerpiece of the trade for Anthony Davis.

Since coming to the Pelicans, Ingram has emerged as one of top young forwards in the game, making his first All-Star appearance while leading the New Orleans Pelicans in scoring and being selected as one of the finalists for the 2020 USA Olympic Team.

Ingram has improved every aspect of his game, from mid-range, to 3-point shooting and finishing at the rim.

Ingram is lanky and could use some additional upper body strength, but he defends his position well and is evolving into one of the best pure scorers in the NBA.

His stature, silky smooth finishes and ability to put the ball in the bucket are reminiscent of another lanky forward named Kevin Durant.

It may seem a stretch to compare Ingram to one of the NBA’s all-time best scorers, but the numbers back it up.

At 6-foot-10, Durant is three inches taller than Ingram and certainly has a larger array of tools when it comes to scoring, especially at this point in their respective careers.

Durant is a physical freak, whose length and deadly shooting stroke make him almost impossible to guard.

While Durant may be taller and have a few more tricks in his bag, the numbers say Ingram has a chance to get there as a scorer.

Ingram is 22-years-old, as Durant was during the 2010-11 season, and their numbers at this age are nearly identical.

Durant averaged 27.7 points to lead the league in scoring for the second year in a row. Ingram is not going to win the scoring title, but he is putting in 24.8 per game in his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Like Durant, Ingram has shown the ability to score from just about anywhere on the floor and has improved to a 40 percent 3-point shooter on 6.3 attempts per game.

Not a lot of people would guess this, but that’s better than Durant was at the same age, as he shot just 35 percent on 5.3 attempts.

That’s right, Ingram at age 22 is a better 3-point shooter than Durant was at the same age and is taking an extra attempt per game.

The similarities don’t stop with scoring. Durant pulled down 6.8 rebounds per game in his year-22 season, and Ingram is just behind at 6.3 boards per game.

Durant has evolved into a gifted passer, but at age 22 he averaged just 2.7 assists per game, while Ingram is dishing out 4.3 dimes and increasingly showing he can be a top playmaker as well as scorer, as he did here against the Bulls.

Durant is an all-time great, NBA champion and sure to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, so Ingram has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath.

But Ingram is putting up nearly identical numbers to Durant at the same age, and in some cases is even surpassing them.

Next: The Pelicans Won the Anthony Davis Trade

If Ingram continues to progress he has the chance to go down as one of the best forwards of his era. He might not be Durant yet, but the blueprint is there.

 

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