NEW YORK (NBA.com) — Former Duke Basketball standout and current New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram has been named the 2019-20 Kia NBA Most Improved Player, the NBA announced today.
A first-time NBA All-Star selection in his fourth season, the 22-year-old Ingram becomes the first player to win the Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award with New Orleans, and the first Blue Devil to garner the award. The annual award is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.
Ingram received 42 first-place votes from a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters and earned 326 total points. He edged Miami Heat center-forward Bam Adebayo, who finished in second place with 295 points (38 first-place votes). Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic finished in third place with 101 points (12 first-place votes).
Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote. The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played through March 11. The seeding games, which were played July 30-Aug. 14 as part of the season restart, did not count toward voting for the Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award or the league’s other traditional end-of-season awards.
From the beginning of the season through March 11, Ingram averaged 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.0 steal in 34.3 minutes in 56 games. He was one of seven players to average at least 24.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.0 steal, joining fellow 2020 NBA All-Stars Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, James Harden and Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kawhi Leonard of the LA Clippers.
Ingram made 137 3-pointers in games played through March 11, which is more than he recorded in his first three seasons combined (127). He improved significantly at the free throw line, raising his accuracy to 85.8 percent this season (through March 11) from 66.2 percent across his first three seasons.
Through March 11 this season, Ingram ranked 13th in the NBA in scoring average and posted the first two games of at least 40 points in his career, highlighted by a 49-point performance against the Utah Jazz on Jan. 16. He scored at least 30 points 11 times after totaling four 30-point games across his first three seasons. One of those 30-point efforts this season came during Week 10 (Dec. 23-29, 2019), when he was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
Ingram, who turns 23 on Sept. 2, was selected as a reserve for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in his first season with New Orleans. The Pelicans acquired him on July 6, 2019, from the Lakers as part of a three-team trade that also included the Washington Wizards. Ingram, who was selected by Los Angeles with the No. 2 overall pick in NBA Draft 2016 presented by State Farm, averaged 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.54 steals in 33.8 minutes in 52 games with the Lakers last season.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) August 31, 2020