More? – No. One for me. One and done, I always say… I said that once.
- Columbus, Zombieland
MOCK DRAFT PICK #2
BRANDON INGRAM, FRESHMAN, DUKE
SHOOTING GUARD / SMALL FORWARD / POWER FORWARD
6’9” – 190 lbs. – 7’3” WINGSPAN
Your consensus number two pick in the 2016 NBA Draft is Duke SF Brandon Ingram, a 6-9 player who essentially has a shooting guard’s skillset. He’s often been compared to Kevin Durant because of his physical tools at his size, namely a great jump shot and fluidity moving down the court. He is a unique wing defender, recalling Syracuse’s Jerami Grant in block percentages at 5% of shots blocked despite having some flaws in defensive footwork.
On the season, Ingram has averaged 16.9 points / 6.7 rebounds / 1.9 assists / 1.7 blocks on .477 percent shooting and a PER of 24.9. His block numbers stand out because of his position on the defense, guarding the wing. While many of his offensive stats don’t seem too impressive, the fact is Ingram is not a finished product–he’s still working out many kinks in his game, but his upside is incredible, and in a proper NBA offense, he can be effective immediately.
His biggest asset on both sides of the ball is his length–he sports a 7-3 wingspan, and he uses this to shoot over defenders, particularly with a very effective pullup jump shot in transition. He also uses this length to finish at the rim, and has an impressive ability to put the ball on the floor. His offensive game is on display in a conference road game against Boston College earlier this season where he recorded 25 points and nine boards.
Despite his comparisons to Kevin Durant, which are accurate in terms of much of his offensive game, he is not the same level of explosive athlete that Durant is. His lateral quickness leaves much to be desired, often resulting in his being out of place on defense and giving up easy dribble penetration. He can get beat off the dribble at times, like when Duke played against Kentucky and Jamal Murray was able to get to the basket against him.
His lack of body mass–weighing only 190 at 6-9–makes it more difficult for him to get physical at the rim on both sides of the ball. His length makes his rebounding in college effective despite this, but if he wants to be a credible rebounder at the next level, he needs to put on some more weight.
Another issue with Ingram is his inconsistency game-in-game-out. When Duke played Kentucky earlier this season, he performed poorly save a couple of impressive flashes on the offensive side of the ball. In that game he had only four points on 1-for-6 from the field. This was during a stretch where he had less than 10 points in four out of five games, and Duke had yet to even get to conference play. He’s clearly not the scorer Durant was at his age, and he has to make major strides to get to that level.
Many of his flaws can be seen in this video against Kentucky. Though it was early in the season, it gives an indication of where Ingram started and what he could work on before playing in the Association.
Even in the face of these criticisms, Brandon Ingram has a very high ceiling and will, depending on the NBA system he’s put into, likely be an immediate improvement on offense. His size and length are elite and he has a very competent offensive skill set. His three-point shooting is fairly disappointing at only .407 pct, but this is partially due to Duke’s poor offensive pacing this season with a cast of many new faces after last season’s championship run. His improvement just over this season has been impressive, and it shows that he has the ability to improve when put into the right situation. For his sake, let’s hope he ends up with another coach as competent as Duke’s Coach K.