Brandon Ingram and the Pelicans are winless vs the Los Angeles Lakers since the Anthony Davis trade
Even if they had not won, the Los Angeles Lakers were smart to acquire Anthony Davis in a trade package centered around Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. The return was much more valuable for New Orleans than it was for the Lakers.
Ball lost his place as the second coming of Magic Johnson whenever LeBron James signed with the Lakers, only because LeBron needs the ball in his hands at all times. The eldest Big Baller still can become an all-star point guard with the Pelicans as he is only 23 years old.
Losing Ingram was a much bigger deal, especially when he became an all-star in New Orleans last season and has only gotten better this season. However, LeBron and Ingram both play the small forward position. He would have never flourished as a co-star playing alongside LeBron.
With that in mind, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka does not get anywhere near enough credit for trading two guys who did not fit alongside LeBron James for a once-in-a-generation talent, Anthony Davis, who compliments LeBron perfectly.
Would the Lakers make this trade again? Yes, or yes? So why is Brandon Ingram in particular so salty over getting traded for AD?
Explaining Brandon Ingram’s personal vendetta vs Los Angeles Lakers:
People are people. Professional athletes are no different. Being on the Lakers and playing alongside LeBron James is one of the ultimate pinnacles to reach in the NBA.
Lavar Ball, Lonzo’s father, spoke the dream of Lonzo joining the Lakers into existence. Then Lavar spoke too much for LeBron’s liking. Not to mention LeBron usurped Brandon Ingram’s natural position of small forward.
Ever since they were jettisoned to New Orleans, Ball and Ingram have dreamt of their perfect revenge game while feasting on Jambalaya, Popeyes, and Gumbo. They need to wake up because they have only had nightmares facing the Lakers. The Pelicans were winless in their four games against the Lakers last season, all of which were by 10 points or less.
Brandon Ingram, in particular, has taken his trade to New Orleans personally. Ingram said it as much after the Pelicans lost their fourth and final game to the Lakers last season. It is worth noting he had a pedestrian 15 points on the night.
"“I’ve got to do a better job of executing,” Ingram said, via William Guillory of The Athletic. “I think I get so hyped up in these games, I tend to force some shots instead of letting the game come to me. I think they did a good job. We had some open shots; we just didn’t make them.”"
To make things worse, Ingram was right. The Pelicans played reasonably well in three of their four games but the Lakers were simply better.
In Guillroy’s follow up interview, Ingram vowed to adopt the Mamba mentality. He needs to have the same killer instinct as the late, great Kobe Bryant to take the next step to superstardom.
And to beat the Lakers tonight.
Why numbers do not lie for past Lakers wins vs Pelicans:
1,893 miles on Interstate 10 separate the cities of Los Angeles and New Orleans. But it seems like the Lakers are 1,893 miles ahead of the Pelicans right now, judging by the box scores.
One game, Ball led all Pelicans scorers with 23 points; Anthony Davis scored 46. In another, Ingram scored 34 points; LeBron James scored 40.
We all know LeBron James is a master troll, but LeBron’s stats trolled New Orleans even more than his trash talk: Lonzo Ball was one point, rebound, and assist away from having a 20/10/10 stat line in the last game; LeBron ended up with a 34/12/13 stat line.
That’s not fair! LeBron is just too big for Ingram!
Why Brandon Ingram has to do even more to beat the Lakers:
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are two of the five best players in the game today. For New Orleans to be competitive against the Lakers, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson must win their individual matchups with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Best case scenario for the Pelicans, AD is in autopilot mode so Zion outscores and out rebounds him by a sizable margin. If AD goes for over 40 points again, then Brandon Ingram can score 60 and the Pelicans still lose.
Again, this is not a fair expectation. But the scoreboard never cares about excuses. The Lakers supporting cast is much stronger than the Pelicans in terms of scoring firepower. New Orleans has at times struggled to score under new coach’s Stan Van Gundy’s four-out offense, which gives Zion and Ingram not a lot of room to attack the basket.
Ingram will have to not only score over 30 points but he will also have to carry the Big Baller’s mantle of vengeance, as Lonzo Ball is out with a knee injury. To make things worse, Eric Bledsoe, the other team’s point guard, is questionable due to an eye injury.
If Ingram can facilitate as well as LeBron James does, then he can wear the crown. But if not, King James and the Lakers reign supreme yet again.