New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram has won the 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player Award.
“I want to congratulate Brandon on winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award,” said Pelicans Governor Gayle Benson. “I am so proud of Brandon’s personal achievements this season and am glad to see him rewarded for all of his hard work and dedication. It has been a truly memorable year watching him excel on and off the court.”
“This award recognizes the countless extra hours Brandon spent in the gym this season as well as the diligence and commitment he puts into the game every day, both mentally and physically,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “I could not be more excited for him and his family to receive this well-deserved honor.”
Ingram, 6-9, 190, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers last July, finished the season averaging career-highs in multiple categories, including points (23.8), rebounds (6.1), assists (4.2) and steals (0.9). Entering the season, Ingram held career averages of 13.9 points, 2.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 0.6 steals. The Duke University product also saw a major improvement in both three-point shooting as well as at the free throw line. Entering the season a career .329 shooter from beyond the arc on 0.7 makes and 2.0 attempts, Ingram shot .391 from three-point range on the season, increasing both his makes (2.4) and attempts (6.2) per contest. At the free throw line, Ingram entered the season with a career .662 shooting percentage, including a .675 shooting percentage last season, and increased his mark to .851 from the charity stripe in 2019-20. The improvement at the free throw line is the third largest year-over-year in NBA history (min. 250 FTA).
Prior to the NBA restart, Ingram was one of just seven players in the NBA to average at least 24.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 1.0 SPG, and was the only player to average at least 24.0 PPG while shooting better than .465 FG%, .385 3FG% and .855 FT% (min. 25 games). Ingram produced 17 games with at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists after recording seven such performances in his first three seasons. He also had 11 30-point games, including two 40-point games, after registering four career 30-point games prior to the 2019-20 campaign. Furthermore, Ingram became just the second player in NBA history to increase their total points by over 400, total rebounds by over 80, total assists by over 85, and total steals by over 25 from the previous season, while playing in less than five additional games and averaging less than .5 minutes more per contest, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo.
At 22 years old, Ingram, who was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game this season, became the second player his age or younger to average at least 23.5 PPG while shooting over .450 FG%, .390 3FG% and .850 FT%, joining Kevin Durant. He became just the fifth player in NBA history age 22 or younger to average at least 23.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 0.9 SPG, joining Tracy McGrady (twice), LeBron James (twice), Luka Dončić and Michael Jordan.
A Kinston, North Carolina native, Ingram is the first player in New Orleans franchise history to be named Most Improved Player, and just the third individual in franchise history to win one of the NBA’s annual performance awards, joining Chris Paul (Rookie of the Year – 2005-06) and Byron Scott (Coach of the Year – 2007-08).
Most Improved Player voting from a panel of national and international sportswriters and broadcasters was based on games played from the start of the regular season through March 11 and did not include “seeding games,” which took place July 30 – Aug. 14 for the 22 teams participating in the season restart.