One NBA insider made the bold claim that the player who currently compares the most to superstar Kevin Durant is New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram.
Brian Windhorst offered his appraisal of Ingram’s talents on his podcast, noting the frustration of opponents in trying to contain Ingram.
“Brandon Ingram is the closest thing I’ve seen to Kevin Durant,” Windhorst said. “He’s unguardable at times man. When he’s got it going, he’s unguardable.”
Ingram began his career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016 after they selected him with the second overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. In his three seasons with the Lakers, Ingram began to develop into a solid performer.
In 2019, the trajectory of Ingram’s career changed dramatically when he was a key piece of the blockbuster deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers.
That deal helped the Lakers immediately when they captured the 2020 NBA title. However, during the past two seasons, Davis has dealt with major injuries that have kept him off the court for extended periods.
In comparison, the 25-year-old Ingram has been a consistent presence in the Pelicans lineup during each of the past three seasons. Over those three campaigns, he’s averaged 23.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Windhorst’s comparison plays off a discussion from earlier this offseason. Durant’s request to be traded from the Brooklyn Nets led to a proposed deal of Durant for Ingram.
Given the Nets’ reluctance to deal Durant, it seems unlikely that such a deal would have taken place, even if it had been publicly acknowledged. Any potential deal became moot when Durant decided to rescind his request.
Like Ingram, Durant was also the second overall pick of his respective draft, which took place in 2007. He was chosen by the Seattle SuperSonics, who became the Oklahoma City Thunder one year later.
In Durant’s first six years, he put up much higher numbers than Ingram has so far in his career. Durant led the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons, starting with the 2009-10 campaign.
Still, the Pelicans are very happy with Ingram and showed that in 2020 when they gave him a five-year contract extension worth more than $158 million. That deal has three more seasons to run, which means that the Pelicans will presumably need to make Ingram an even sweeter contract offer to keep him in New Orleans.