I’ve been watching Brandon Ingram since his days at Duke and I remember how when he got drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and I
really saw him growing into the face of the Los Angeles Lakers with the Lakers having a core of Lonzo Ball,Julius Randle,Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram. Even when LeBron James decided to come over to the Lakers I saw Brandon Ingram as the young superstar LeBron James would lean on to be his sidekick in his 4 years in LA. It did not turn out that way as Brandon Ingram was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans as the main piece that brought over Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers but watching him this season on the New Orleans Pelicans I saw his growth game after game and I really do not think Brandon Ingram should take a backseat to Zion Williamson in New Orleans. While Zion Williamson was out for the first half of the season Brandon Ingram put the Pelicans on his shoulders and made his first all-star game averaging a career high 24 points per game to go with 6 rebounds per game and 4 assists per game. The moment Zion Williamson returned to the Pelicans starting lineup it felt like Brandon Ingram’s game digressed which is why I think he should leave the New Orleans Pelicans.
If Brandon Ingram did not have the potential to be the face of a franchise sure playing alongside Zion Williamson would be his best bet but Brandon Ingram is primetime. I still recall when he asked LeBron James for the ball on the low-block on a mismatch in an away game against the Portland Trailblazers and LeBron waved him off and drove to the basket and drew a foul, Brandon Ingram in frustration walked to the corner of the court. That right there showed me that Brandon Ingram looks at himself as a first option and that taking a back-seat was not something he wanted to do. He has no obligation to the New Orleans Pelicans as he was traded there so if he decides to leave the Pelicans business is businesss. He played out his rookie contract and he has the right to go anywhere he pleases which brings me to the Charlotte Hornets. I look around the NBA and every team pretty much has someone to represent their franchise aside from the Charlotte Hornets. Who is the face there? Miles Bridges? Terry Rozier? PJ Washington? No disrespect to any of those guys but I do not see any of them ever becoming All-NBA players let a lone all-stars at the NBA level and I could be wrong but based off what I’ve seen so far from them in their careers I would not bet on it.
The Charlotte Hornets sit at 23-42 and outside of the playoff picture but I believe they surpassed everyone’s expectations this season because I don’t think anyone aside from myself saw them winning over 20 ball games this season. I liked the hiring of James Borrego as he made it clear he was looking to make the Hornets a tough rugged team and would not accept giving minutes to players who were not putting forth the effort on defense. As a result the Hornets ranked 12th in the NBA in opponents points per game which is pretty good yet they ranked last in points per contest which is a problem. I think the Hornets did a good job bringing over Terry Rozier on a 3 year $57 million dollar deal but when he is your leading scorer you have some improvements to make. Devonte Graham turned some heads early on with multiple high scoring games off the bench and eventually became a starter but he became wildly inefficient and it just seemed like teams figured out how to play him, he is not a big guard and lacks athleticism both which ultimately don’t bode well for anywhere close to decent defense.
Back to Brandon Ingram who won’t be cheap as he will demand anywhere from $130 to as high as $170 million dollars specially after sprouting into an all-star at the age of 22. This means a 4 to 5 year contract is a must because assuming he is healthy he will be a perennial all-star through the duration of the entire, the Hornets can offer him that. Looking at the Hornets’s payroll Bismack Biyombo’s $17 million will be coming off the books after this season and it hurts to see Nicolas Batum being paid over $25 million dollars but maybe the Hornets can attach his contract to a draft pick and send him out of Charlotte as his contract would be an expiring one after this season is over. Brandon Ingram needs his own team and the Charlotte Hornets should be the destination for him, no matter what he does in New Orleans he will never be looked at as the face of the New Orleans Pelicans because Zion Williamson is a once in a generation type athlete and will have the media and New Orleans fans behind him. On the Hornets he would be treated like a superstar and get all the recognition for uplifting a franchise which has been irrelevant since the days of Larry Johnson and Glen Rice in the late 1990’s.
To conclude I believe the Hornets are a team on the rise, they have a top 10 pick in this coming NBA Draft and weren’t too far off from the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. Bringing over Brandon Ingram I believe could elevate the Hornets into a top 5 seed in the Eastern Conference next season because Brandon Ingram is what they are missing. PJ Washington,Miles Bridges, and Terry Rozier are very good supporting pieces to have around a player the caliber of Brandon Ingram and the Hornets have a coach in James Borrego who has brought a team first philosophy to the Charlotte Hornets which has done wonders for what the Hornets are looking to build. Did I mention Mitch Kupchak is calling the shots on the Hornets the man responsible for drafting Brandon Ingram for the Los Angeles Lakers? Brandon Ingram on the Charlotte Hornets is the perfect storm and I believe he would put the Hornets on the map once again in ways Kemba Walker never could. Hopefully Brandon Ingram chooses the Charlotte Hornets, till next time.