As a sneaker lover, when I was younger I used to swap shoes with a friend for a day or so – sometimes longer. It was just like your run to the mill’s NBA trade. “Give me this rod, I’ll give it to you, this and this when I return to class tomorrow.”
Two of what you get are just trade remittances. They could be a little off the beaten path. They probably stink a little, but are repairable. You can clean them. Once you do that? Dude, you have a gem.
That gem is the sudden star of the Brandon Ingram pelicans. It is the shoe that was not the centerpiece of the trade. It shouldn’t have been special. You didn’t have to rely on him every day. He is now your favorite boy. You are not returning it.
He demonstrated that last night with a spectacular 49-point performance to end his streak of 10 games of Jazz, including this insane shot that should have been a game winner.
Oh, there was also that reverse dunk on RUDY GOBERT.
This friend is well now. He showed flashes in his time with the Lakers for a few seasons and then was caught in the shadow of LeBron James. But now? It is a legitimate star. He should be an All-Star this season.
This changes everything for pelicans.
Pelicans have one of the legitimate young cores of the NBA now
Ingram’s arrival on the scene changes everything for pelicans. Not only did they win the lottery and draw a potentially generational player in Zion Williamson, they also got an All-Star in exchange for Anthony Davis.
If you ever intend to trade a superstar player, this is exactly what you hope to get in return. They already have a duo who will immediately be considered one of the best emerging combos in the league. It is a great place to start a rebuild.
Look, Williamson and Ingram aren’t Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook yet. I’m not even on the level of Luka Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis right now. Williamson has yet to play and this is Ingram’s first good season.
But they have time and with time they understand it.
We are already seeing results
Don’t look now, but the pelicans have rebounded from the terrible start of the season and are just 2.5 games in the eighth seed. The playoffs are still in the realm of possibilities for them.
They have won seven of their last 10 games and are in a large space. Derrick Favors is finally a healthy date in training, Lonzo Ball is starting to cook and Ingram is going crazy.
Williamson will return to training next week and Jrue Holiday should not take too long to return to him. They may finally have a completely healthy team heading for the All-Star break. After that, anything can happen.
Looks like J.J Redick might be lucky. After all, his 13-year playoff series could continue.