New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player on Monday.
Ingram outdistanced Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo in balloting performed by a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Ingram received 42 first-place votes and 326 points. Adebayo (295 points) had 38 first-place votes.
Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic (101 points, 12 first-place votes) was third.
Statistics toward consideration for the award were used through March 11, the night the NBA season was suspended after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 prior to a game at Oklahoma City.
Ingram averaged 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists and knocked down 137 3-pointers in 56 games prior to the halt in play. He also was named to his first All-Star Game.
Ingram, who turns 23 on Wednesday, was acquired by the Pelicans in the offseason from the Lakers as part of the package that saw Anthony Davis head to Los Angeles. He becomes the first player from New Orleans to ever win the award.
During the presentation of the award, Ingram recalled the blood clotting issues he dealt with that cut his 2018-19 season short with the Lakers.
“First I want to say to God be the glory, without him I wouldn’t be healthy,” Ingram said. “I wouldn’t have had the chance to get back on the basketball court. It goes back to last March, me getting injured and being able to get back on the court until September. That was very little time to come into and start preseason and start the regular season. I was ready for it.”
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (57 points, three first-place votes) and Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham (50, two) rounded out the top five. — Reuters