New Orleans Pelicans

Brandon Ingram narrowly wins Most Improved Player over Bam Adebayo

Brandon Ingram is the NBA’s 2019-20 Most Improved Player.

The NBA‘s Most Improved Player award is always one of the tougher individual honors to gauge in a given year. Though it has a fairly strong track record of identifying players on the rise to stardom over the last decade, the term “Most Improved Player” is open to interpretation.

This year’s MIP race was a terrific example of that. The three finalists — Brandon Ingram, Bam Adebayo and Luka Doncic — all had very different cases. Was Ingram more worthy after making the All-Star leap as a No. 1 scorer for the New Orleans Pelicans? Or should Adebayo’s more sudden and less expected arrival as an All-Star talent have given him the edge? And what about Doncic, who was expected to be a superstar eventually but made that gigantic leap much sooner than expected?

The voters have spoken, naming Ingram as the league’s Most Improved Player from this season, but the voting was incredibly close.

Brandon Ingram narrowly won this year’s MIP award

According to the NBA, Ingram earned 42 first-place votes, while Adebayo followed up with 38 first-place votes. Ingram finished with a total of 326 voter points, while Bam had 295. Doncic, meanwhile, received 12 first-place votes and followed up the rear of the three finalists with 101 total voter points.

Brandon Ingram found out he won the award on a video conference call with his parents and Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, which was a very cool moment.

This season, Ingram improved his numbers nearly across the board compared to the season before:

  • 2018-19: 18.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 49.7 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 67.5 FT%
  • 2019-20: 23.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 4.2 APG, 46.3 FG%, 39.1 3P%, 85.1 FT%

In addition to his uptick in scoring, Ingram improved his all-around game — as a rebounder, passer, efficient 3-point/free-throw shooter and defender. He was certainly deserving of the award.

However, Adebayo was no slouch with his impressive progress in 2019-20 either, nearly doubling his scoring output from 8.9 points to 15.9 points per game, on top of his 10.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game in his first All-Star season on a superior Miami Heat squad.

This was a fun MIP race, but Ingram was the easier, more blatantly obvious choice, especially since Adebayo’s 2018-19 baseline for “improvement” on the stat sheet was much lower to start. Congrats to Ingram and the Pelicans, but either way, in such a tight race as this, it’s clear both teams have future stars on their hands.

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