Pelicans' Brandon Ingram Wins 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player Award

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Jazz won 128-126. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram was announced as the winner of the 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player Award on Monday.

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

The moment @B_Ingram13 found out he won the NBA's Most Improved Player Award ⤵️ https://t.co/bNsQMfOKfi

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck reported the voting results:

Howard Beck @HowardBeck

Full voting results for Most Improved Player below. My ballot: Luka Doncic Brandon Ingram Jayson Tatum https://t.co/mfkHuGsaMm

The Most Improved Player Award, which was established in 1985, has become a strong indicator of long-term success in recent years. The previous five winners of the honor were Jimmy Butler, CJ McCollum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo and Pascal Siakam, all of whom are now stars.

The voting can vary between highlighting a player who came out of nowhere to produce a breakout year and an already established player taking the next step toward stardom.

The latter has become more common in recent years, as highlighted again by this season's finalists.

Brandon Ingram, 22, was thrust into a headline role in his first year with the Pelicans while Zion Williamson, the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft, recovered from knee surgery. He responded with the type of standout season the Los Angeles Lakers were waiting on over the past three years.

He averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.4 threes while shooting 39.1 percent from beyond the arc across 62 appearances during the regular season. He retained a crucial role at both ends of the floor even after Williamson returned to the lineup.

New Orleans has built a terrific core with Ingram, Williamson, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball, which should make it an emerging title threat in the coming years.