- Age 23
- Experience Five seasons (two with Pelicans)
- Games Played/Games Started 61/61
For a player coming off a 2019-20 NBA All-Star berth – who compiled nearly identical statistics the following season – Ingram does not sound at all content with what transpired in 2020-21 for he and the Pelicans. Five years into his pro career, the biggest number the forward is focused on is in the win column, a category where New Orleans came up three victories shy of reaching the Western Conference play-in tournament.
“I think it’s fuel for me,” Ingram said May 17 of New Orleans going 31-41. “I’m not sure ‘disappointing’ is the word, but I’m disappointed in my play, and of course the result of this year, just because I know good I am and how good the team can be.”
Ingram’s offensive talent is unquestionably elite, after he averaged exactly 23.8 points for a second straight season on above-average efficiency. The North Carolina native joined fellow Duke product Zion Williamson in spearheading New Orleans to the NBA’s 11th-rated offense. He also set a career high in assists.
“I think Brandon had a fantastic season,” Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said.
“One of the most satisfying things of the year is (Ingram and Williamson) were one of the highest-scoring duos in the league, averaging over 50 points a game between them,” first-year head coach Stan Van Gundy said. “For (Ingram) to go the whole year and average close to 24 a game, playing with Zion, I thought was a really promising development, that those guys do coexist and can both be very productive at the same time. In addition to that, both had their assist totals go up and their turnovers go down, on a per-minute basis.”
- PTS Per Game 23.8
- REB Per Game 4.9
- AST Per Game 4.9
- Three Point % 38.1
- Free Throw % 87.8
Brandon Ingram Key Stats from 2020-21 NBA Season
Ingram said of his improved passing that he was content with “getting guys involved. Putting guys in the best position where they feel comfortable shooting the basketball. Making them confident and comfortable in what they do on the floor.”
Still, Ingram acknowledged that to take the next step individually and as a team, defensive improvement is a must. New Orleans finished 23rd in defense; Portland (No. 29) was the only team that fared worse on defense and still advanced to the NBA postseason.
“(One goal next season is) me having the mindset of trying to be a killer on the offensive and defensive end, knowing that most games I have a mismatch, and taking full advantage of it every single night,” Ingram said. “On defense, (eliminating) some of my letdowns. I want to be better on the defensive end.
“I think (2020-21) was a learning experience for us, figuring out how to win basketball games, and trying to stay consistent on the offensive and defensive end. It just wasn’t as consistent as it could’ve and should’ve been.”
Brandon Ingram | By The Numbers
Consecutive games played by Ingram to open the 2020-21 regular season. He’s played 123 of a possible 144 contests (85 percent) since coming to New Orleans via a 2019 blockbuster trade. With the Lakers, Ingram played in 190 of 246 possible games (77 percent).
New Orleans record when Ingram compiled a plus-minus of plus-6 or better. The Pelicans went 12-31 in the other 43 games he played. New Orleans went 7-5 this season when he tallied 30-plus points, as well as 13-8 when he dished out six or more assists.
Players on the New Orleans roster who are younger than Ingram, even though won’t turn 24 until the week before Labor Day. Griffin noted that Ingram plans to “take a leadership mantle” this summer and gather players together for offseason workouts and meetings.
Brandon Ingram | Most Notable Games from 2020-21 NBA Season
#1, March 23, New Orleans 128, LA Lakers 111
Ingram has averaged 25.0 points in six matchups against his former team, his highest career scoring average vs. any NBA franchise (his next-most is 21.9 in nine games vs. Cleveland). Coincidence? Ingram poured in a season-high 36 points in this victory over the play-in round qualifier, helping New Orleans dominate the middle quarters by a 70-47 margin.
#2, Feb. 21, New Orleans 120, Boston 115 (OT)
It was only a so-so Sunday afternoon of shooting for Ingram – he went 11/22 from the field – but he delivered in crunch time on national TV. His 33-point performance was highlighted by one of the most memorable buckets of the New Orleans season, a left-wing three-pointer that put the Pelicans up 115-112 in the final minute of overtime.
#3, March 21, New Orleans 113, Denver 108
Clutch, clutch, clutch. In what was arguably the most impressive road win of the season for New Orleans, Ingram made three big offensive plays in the final two minutes, converting a pair of and-ones and scoring eight points. That capped a 30-point, six-rebound, eight-assist Sunday afternoon to beat one of the West’s hottest second-half teams.