After a change in scenery from Los Angeles, the Brandon Ingram breakout might finally be here

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor

As we all expected, a top pick from Duke has jumped out of the gate for the New Orleans Pelicans and is already showing an All Star-level ceiling at his new home.

Oh, wait.

The Pelicans’ Zion Williamson era has been delayed 6-8 weeks as the rookie recovers from preseason knee surgery, but in his absence, Brandon Ingram has taken over.

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Brandon Ingram drops a career-high 40 points

Ingram was arguably the biggest piece acquired in the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis trade, a 22-year-old oozing athleticism, wingspan and potential. He was just never able to fulfill that potential with the Los Angeles Lakers. Through seven games with the Pelicans, it appears the change of scenery might have done the former No. 2 overall pick some good.

In 37 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets, Ingram posted a career-high 40 points on 17-of-24 shooting with five assists and five rebounds. Pulling up from all over the floor, Ingram looked like the kind of player Lakers fans waited years hoping to see.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans, Ingram’s night came in a 135-125 losing effort for the team thanks to Kyrie Irving’s 39 points and nine assists. This a young team, though, and Ingram hitting on his potential could be a lot more meaningful for the Pelicans long-term than October and November wins.

The performance continued what has been an early season breakout for Ingram. Through seven games, Ingram is averaging 25.9 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 48.6 percent from deep.

Those shooting numbers are almost certainly going to fall back to Earth, but it’s already clear we’re dealing with a new Ingram.

This is all very well-timed for Ingram too, as he is set to hit restricted free agency next offseason in what looks like a slow market. If Ingram continues to play like this and shows he can complement Williamson when he returns, he will likely be signing a very lucrative contract this summer.

Brandon Ingram is looking aggressive and making shots. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Brandon Ingram is looking aggressive and making shots. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

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