Ben Simmons was everybody’s unanimous #1 pick this upcoming NBA Draft but perhaps there may be another player that has emerged as the front-runner for teams around the NBA.
At 18 years old, the young freshman Brandon Ingram has been a key part of Dukes great regular season and soon to be a NCAA Tournament run. He has been pinned with Kevin Durant qualities and honestly it’s not hard to see why.
But what does Ingram do differently to Simmons?
Simmons has had an odd college career, 1 year was all Ben Simmons was going to give to college basketball and this was apparent from day one. If we view this objectively, Simmons did not have a great team to work with and a coach who didn’t necessarily put Simmons in good positions at times.
It was obvious that Simmons was a player in his own field when you watched him play, he’s simply more talented and smarter than any of his teammates around him. He attempted way too often to lift his teammates to his level, but it was just not going to happen anytime soon and certainly not in 3 months of college basketball.
Lately, Simmons has received a tonne of bad press, he was in the news for not being able to maintain a 2.0 Grade and was said to not be attending classes and his game was questioned throughout the season for deferring too much. LSU have also declined to appear in the NIT Tournament after not making the NCAA Tournament, and once again Simmons was questioned as his lack of passion and his attitude towards all that has happened.
After all of this, his draft stock should remain unaffected, but it certainly has brought up some questions and unknowns about Simmons and how this may translate to the NBA, which is where Brandon Ingram now enters the conversation.
Ingram is averaging just under 17 points on a talented Duke team and shooting 44% from the field as well as 41% from 3. Offense is not his only skill as his crazy length helps him secure at just under 7 rebounds per game and 1.3 blocks. But stats aside, its the intangibles and lessons that are best learned in college, which is where most people find a striking distance between Ingram and Simmons.
Simmons stats were not bad by any means, but the question really is how did he improve?Compared to Ingram for example, who needed to gain some weight and muscle, has answered most of faults and will continue to improve as he grows. Whereas Simmons, who has been playing games at half speed and overall disinterested in the whole allure of the college experience.
The longer Duke stays in the NCAA tournament, Ingram’s appeal will continue to stand out and in today’s NBA, as long as you’re prepared to work on a Ben Simmons and develop him as a shooter then he is limited to being labeled as a Rondo in a LeBron body.Ingram fits the direction the NBA is going and his skillset is there and can only improve in due time, both players are ready for the NBA and while it will be argued that passing on Simmons is crazy for any team to think, depending on what you need however, Ingram could easily be the #1 pick.