Kevin Durant and Brandon Ingram comparisons are around for some time now. The first time Durant acknowledged Ingram’s game was in 2016, right at the time Ingram entered the league. The resemblance is obvious – same skinny frame with extremely long arms. And then there’s the style of play – they both can practically shoot over anybody in the league. If KD ever had a player that reminded of him, that was BI.
“He’s a great player. I watched him almost every game this season. I’m a huge fan, the first person I can say that I can look at him and feel like I’m looking in the mirror. I’m rooting for him.”Kevin Durant, Fadeaway World
Both KD and BI were no.2 picks in their draft classes. KD was drafted in 2007 and went to Seattle in the final year of the beloved SuperSonics, and Ingram was selected by LA Lakers in the 2016/17 season, right after the Kobe Bryant era ended.
However, KD and BI had very different starts to their NBA careers. KD was a walking bucket since he stepped on the biggest stage, where Ingram had some shooting slumps in his first couple of seasons. For example, in his rookie year, Ingram played 28.9 minutes in which he averaged 9.4 points, four rebounds, and 2.1 assists on 40.2% shooting from the field. Durant averaged 20.3 points in his rookie year with 43% shooting and added 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Keeping that in mind, rookie Ingram wouldn’t stand a chance against rookie Durant.
Fast forward five years later, Ingram’s game is finally coming together. Maybe getting the role of the first option (right up with Zion) in New Orleans helped him a little bit, or he just matured enough. Whatever the reason might be, Ingram averaged 23.8 points (46.3% field goal and 39.1% for three), 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists last season. So now we’re talking KD numbers. In his fourth season, Durant averaged 27.7 points (46.2% field goal and 35.0% for three), 6.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists.
“For me, it was always Kevin Durant. I watched him in high school, in college, and watched him through his rookie years to this point. Just the way he handles the basketball. … When I contest him, he acts like he doesn’t see me at all. And I feel like I have one of the longest arms in the league.”Brandon Ingram, Old Man & the Three
The resemblance is evident to Paul Pierce too. Players around the league and NBA legends seem to agree – the comparisons are starting to become reality.
“I’ve had a conversation with Rondo, and he said Ingram is a top-five one-on-one player. And I might agree with Rondo, that guy is getting buckets these days”.Paul Pierce, The Jump
Will we see the best version of Ingram this season? It remains to be seen. But Ingram is slowly starting to make a name for himself. He had a breakout year last season, and he signed a five-year, $158 million maximum contract extension in the offseason, so that will boost his confidence.
There’s still a lot of work in front of him if he wants to be close to KD’s level, but Ingram’s ceiling is high. And that’s a pretty neat comprehension for the Pelicans.