Ingram relishes go-to role in the Big Easy

Ingram takes charge for Pels

Zion Williamson may have the name recognition factor but Brandon Ingram usually has the final shot.

Indeed, when the game is on the line for the New Orleans Pelicans, the ball more often than not will end up in the hands of their 6-foot-7-inch small forward, who has responded with a stellar performance early in 2020-21.

Through the season’s first week, the fifth-year man out of Duke was leading the Pels with 23.3 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting with seven rebounds and 6.5 assists. His efforts earned him Western Conference Player of the Month for Week 1.

Also emerging are his leadership characteristics. Ingram wants the ball in pressure situations and when he fails, he has no problem taking the blame. In fact, even when he makes mistakes in an otherwise great game, as he did in a recent 28-point effort in a win over the San Antonio Spurs, he’ll fess up.

Which speaks to character, a trait Pelicans’ head coach Stan Van Gundy loves and is a big reason why the team chose to award him with a five-year, $158 million contract in preseason. It’s also why New Orleans made him the linchpin of the deal that sent Anthony Davis west to the Lakers in the fall of 2019.

Ingram and the Pelicans can be seen in action Friday, Jan. 29, when they clash with the Milwaukee Bucks at home in the early game of an ESPN doubleheader.

Full name: Brandon Xavier Ingram

Birth date: Sept. 2, 1997

Birthplace: Kinston, N.C.

Height/weight: 6 feet 7 inches, 190 pounds

Draft: Selected in the first round (second overall) by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers (2016-19); New Orleans Pelicans (2019-present)

Position: Forward

No.: 14

College: Duke

Honors and achievements: NBA All-Star (2020); NBA Most Improved Player (2020); ACC Rookie of the Year (2016); First-Team Parade All-American (2015); North Carolina Mr. Basketball (2015)

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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