Brandon Ingram improved markedly from his rookie season in the NBA, increasing his output in every category towards averages of 16.1 points* (up from 9.4 in 2016-17) on 47.0 percent FG’s (40.2 percent) and 39.0 percent from three (29.4 percent), plus 5.3 rebounds (4.0), 3.9 assists (2.1), 0.7 blocks (0.5) and 0.8 steals (0.6) in 33.5 minutes (28.8) per game.
*Matching Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma for the team lead.
Ingram peaked in February, going for 18.6 points on 54.5 percent FG’s and 52.2 percent 3’s, plus 5.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 0.6 steals. The only real downside to Ingram’s season came in the form of a left groin strain suffered on March 1 that kept him out until March 28, and a concussion suffered on March 30 that essentially concluded his season. Ingram started all 59 games he played in.
Below is a summary of his exit interview:
Ingram’s analysis of his season: “My season was a process. Coming in, trying to adjust to our style of basketball, I think on the offensive and defensive end … I found myself being patient. It kept getting better and better. I felt myself getting better each and every game. I saw myself grow over the season.”
On what Magic and Pelinka told him: “How this could be a big offseason for me especially. Transformation of my body. How I could see myself next year and how we play. And of course trying to make the playoffs.”
Ingram on potential free agent additions to the team and how that might impact him: “I think I fit in fine. It’s all about how we want to play as a basketball team. This season, we wanted to be run and gun, put pressure on the rim every single play and occasionally kick out to shooters. In some areas we need some better shooting, and whatever we can do in the paint.”
Does Ingram believe he can be one of the league’s best players? “Absolutely. I think I have the confidence to do that. I live in the moment for the player I am now, but I always look down the line to see how much better I can be. I go into each day trying to work on something different, or have the same routine every day, I realize I can be on those (top guys’) level.”
Ingram believes in himself to do it all: “A two-way player, a guy who can do everything on the basketball floor.” He mentioned shooting the three, having an in-between game, getting to the basket, a guy that lives at the free throw line. And defensively, getting deflections, locking down his man. A bit of it all.
How does Ingram close the gap on the two-way superstar players of today? “How I can be consistent. Being the same guy every night. Knowing the moves (I want to go to). Having the effort and energy every single night.”