LOS ANGELES -- New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, who made his first all-star game appearance this season, was awarded the NBA's Most Improved Player award on Monday.
The 22-year-old Ingram edged out Miami Heat centre Bam Adebayo for the award. Ingram finished with 326 points, 31 points ahead of Adebayo in voting done by a panel of NBA journalists. Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic finished third with 101 points.
"I just wanted to put in my work every single day and just get the best out of this year. Alvin Gentry gave me a good opportunity to go out there and do what I wanted to do," said Ingram of Pelicans former coach Gentry.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum (57 points) finished fourth and Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte' Graham (50 points) placed fifth.
Ingram set career highs in points (23.9), rebounds (6.1) and assists (4.2) per game. He also shot 85 percent from the free throw line in his first season with the Pelicans after being traded there by the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ingram had to overcome a blood clotting problem that forced him to end his 2018-19 season with the Lakers prematurely.
"It goes back to last March, me getting injured and not being able to get back on the court until September. That was very little time to come into and start preseason and start the regular season. I was ready for it," he said.
© Agence France-Presse