We’ve talked about this before, but if the New Orleans Pelicans star tandem of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are a modern-day Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Ingram is Bryant, and Williamson is O’Neal. Both Williamson and O’Neal are physical anomalies that are capable of generating pressure at the rim like few players in NBA history have ever been able to achieve before.
And like Bryant, Ingram is a tough shot-making specialist. Hand in his face, no hand in his face, it doesn’t matter for Bryant and Ingram. As long as they are in their spots, they have a chance of making you pay.
And while being a tough shot-maker has some limitations when it comes to efficiency, it makes you a pain in the you know what to defend. That’s because, even if you are guarding these tough shot-makers the way you are supposed to be, there’s a good chance that they will drain a jumper right in your grill.
In fact, if you ask NBA players Theo Pinson and DeVonte’ Graham, Ingram may be the toughest cover in the league right now.
“I have went on the record, and I have said it. He is one of the hardest players that I’ve ever guarded,” Pinson said on the Run Your Race podcast. “Because, and I will never forget this … we played them at Carolina [in college]. I’m guarding [Ingram.] He drives baseline going left, and he shoots a pull-up. I have a great hand [in his face.] He doesn’t see me. Cash.”
Graham, Ingram’s former teammate in New Orleans, added to Pinson’s praise, saying that “Ingram is elite. He don’t see nobody when he pulls up to shoot.”
Graham’s praise didn’t end there. A little later in the clip above, he mentions how Ingram is able to combine that scoring with playmaking. “He passing, he make everybody better.”
Last season, Ingram was in the 74th percentile in midrange accuracy for his position (per Cleaning the Glass). Midrange shots are usually the location of those tough jumpers that he and Bryant have become renowned for making.