New Orleans Pelicans: Evaluating Brandon Ingram’s early MVP chances

Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans . (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans . (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Ingram has taken his game to another level and looks like an MVP candidate early in the 2020-2021 NBA season

Last year felt like a coming-out party for Brandon Ingram. In his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans, the 22-year-old became an All-Star while averaging 24 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. As a result, he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award.

Thanks to that performance, Ingram even earned himself a 5-year 158 million dollar contract in the offseason. All of that created a lot of noise about Brandon Ingram entering this season. People wanted to know, was he worth the money? Could he repeat what he did last year? And, most importantly, how much better can he get?

Well, the early reports are in. Brandon Ingram was worth every penny the Pelicans gave him, and he looks like he’s gotten significantly better too.

How Brandon Ingram has taken his play to MVP-levels for the New Orleans Pelicans

Sure it’s early, but let’s talk about how much better Brandon Ingram looks three games into this season. For these three games, Ingram is averaging 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game along with 1 steal per contest too.

Those numbers are leaps and bounds better than his numbers last season, specifically in the rebounding and assist department. Those numbers are reminiscent of seasons from LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the NBA’s best wing players.

How has he gotten there? Well, it’s simple. Stan Van Gundy is empowering Brandon Ingram early in the season and making it clear that this is his team. Ingram is the guy who takes the big shots, and the ball when in tough situations. He’s also the player Van Gundy trusts the most to facilitate his offense. An interesting trend to keep an eye on this season.

Most importantly, though Ingram’s defense looks better than it ever has. This is another credit to Van Gundy’s coaching. Now, no one is saying that Ingram is an elite defensive player, but he puts up more fight on that end of the court this season.

Considering he just won the Western Conference’s Player of the Week Award, Ingram is in the driver’s seat for the MVP early. The question now becomes, what does he have to do to win that prestigious award?