Brandon Ingram has been fantastic since the start of this season for the New Orleans Pelicans, but he was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in last night’s exhilarating 138-132 win over the Utah Jazz.
B’Easy — as a breathing New Orleanian, I prefer this to B.I. — posted a new career-high of 49 points and also added eight rebounds, six assists and three triples. He made 15 of his 25 field goal attempts and went 16 of 20 from the free throw line.
Career-high 49 points— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 17, 2020
Clutch shot after clutch shot.
On several different occasions, the lively crowd down the stretch rightfully broke out into loud “MVP!” chants. Following what appeared to be the game-winner in regulation, Ingram had all of his teammates and coaches roaring with pleasure on the sidelines like they each had personally just sank the pressurized midrange jumper. And once New Orleans walked off the court with victory in hand after the overtime period, the excitement and praise didn’t stop. As soon as Lonzo Ball reached his cell phone in his locker, he couldn’t stay in character.
Then once Ingram had wrapped up his postgame interview with Jen Hale of Fox Sports New Orleans, he was awarded a proper hero’s welcome.
Jrue Holiday, Josh Hart, Swin Cash — am I missing anyone? — also all joined in on the fun on Twitter because one of the best young players in the game today flat-out killed it, sending Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and the Jazz back to Utah with a one heck of a sour taste in their mouths.
— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) January 17, 2020
Now for a quick reality check — which is sure to invoke that similar feeling Pelican fans experienced upon hearing a referee’s whistle call Jaxson Hayes for a foul on a Jazz inbounds pass from half court with 0.2 seconds left — Brandon Ingram isn’t on the cusp of his first All-Star appearance following the latest results of the fan portion of the 2020 NBA All-Star Voting process.
Believe it or not, a 22-year-old averaging 25.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists trails eight players in the Western Conference frontcourt, yet only five other players in the entire league are currently averaging similar numbers or better. Four of them are locks to make the All-Star game as starters: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Kawhi Leonard. The fifth, Karl-Anthony Towns, seems incredibly deserving a spot on that exclusive roster with averages of 26.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists, but it must be mentioned that he’s missed nearly half of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 40 games to date on the schedule. (17 to be exact.) Ingram, conversely, has missed only five of 42 contests for the New Orleans Pelicans.
In case you’re wondering, only one player averaging at least 25.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists has missed that season’s All-Star game over the past thirty years; however, that outlier can easily be explained away.
Michael Jordan averaged 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists during the 1994-95 season, but he didn’t appear in his first game for the Chicago Bulls until after the 1995 All-Star game. Remember how MJ had walked away from the NBA career to give baseball a try? Yeah, thanks unusual moment in history.
Anyways, there are 49 instances of players posting a line of 25/6.5/4.0 or better who qualified for that season’s particular All-Star game. In fact, many more times than not, they were named starters, and not once did this stat line belong to some injury replacement.
From Jordan to Charles Barkley to Karl Malone to Grant Hill to Tracy McGrady to Kobe Bryant to LeBron James and now the Kings’ present day peers, this list is illustrious, consisting of the best of the best. Along with KAT, Brandon Ingram is on pace to post one of these best-of-the-best lines.
This one’s easy, folks. Ingram deserves much more love than he’s been shown by fans — only four days of voting left, but there’s hope that current players and media panels atone for the amateur-hour votes because...
BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR BRANDON INGRAM #NBAALLSTAR— Lei’s ole man, JC’s Dad. (@JDub9911) January 17, 2020
FYI: Voting for fans, players and media will conclude on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Fans account for 50 percent of the vote to determine the 10 starters for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, which will take place at the United Center in Chicago on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. All current NBA players and a media panel each account for 25 percent of the vote, with every voter completing one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference.