Brandon Ingram is a small forward from the Duke University. Ingram is 6’9 and has a wingspan of 7’3. For the year, he averaged, 34.6 minutes per game, 17.3 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game, 1.1 steals per game, while shooting 44.2% from the field, and 41.0% from three.
- Efficient scorer
- Attacks the rim
- Fluent at finishing at the rim
- Good mid-range jumper
- Deadly three point shooter
- Gets to the line often
- Good on and off ball offensive player
- Good passer
- Rebounding potential
- High basketball IQ
- Killer instinct
- Does not have elite athleticism
- Poor free throw shooter
- Inconsistency on defense
- Lateral movements
- Leadership skills
Even before Brandon Ingram will step onto the NBA court, he will always be linked with Ben Simmons as 1a and 1b, and they will never escape each other’s shadow. These two players have two completely different games, but with the two top franchises in the lottery desperate for the franchise pillar to lead them to championships, both will have a lot of pressure to succeed early on.
Offensively, Ingram is second to none, this is what has him in contention for the number one overall selection. Ingram can attack you from anywhere on the court, and he does is at an efficient level. His long legs and arms make it nearly impossible to stop him from getting to the rim without fouling him. Ingram does need to hit the gym, and make sure his free throw shooting is an asset, and not a liability. If Ingram is stopped from getting to the rim, his mid-range jumper is just as deadly. Again, his length allows for him to shoot over many smaller opponent’s, and harder for opponents to contest any of his shots. From the three point line, Ingram is best in catch-and-shoot, where he was one of the best three point shooters in the country at only 18 years old. As a distributor, Ingram is nowhere near the level of a passer as Simmons, but his height and offensive awareness allow for him to see his teammates and make efficient passes. At the next level, hopefully Ingram could look to boost his assist numbers into the 5.0 region to become a better overall player. A lot of people will talk about the “Killer Instinct” within Brandon Ingram, which is there at times, but due to his struggle with being the vocal leader, he sometimes can defer to his lesser teammates.
The defensive side of the ball is all about potential for Ingram. His combination of height and length could make him one of the most devastating players on the defensive side of the ball. His lack of elite athleticism does come into play on this end of the court, as he will try to overcompensate for this with his length. He falls for fakes easily, and could lead to foul trouble at the next level. His footwork and lateral movement is very slow, and this just requires more effort on his part. His motor on defense can be questionable at times, as he will tend to focus more on offense, but with NBA coaching this should change rapidly. Ingram is a good rebounder on both ends of the court. He may struggle at first, due to his lack of strength and getting involved in the paint, but Kevin Durant is not the strongest player, but uses his awareness and length to grab a good number of boards. Many teams are looking for a fluid player between the three and four position, but due to his lack of strength, he would get destroyed by opposing forwards like Paul George or LeBron James, who are the goal for the new position.
Overall, Brandon Ingram is a tantalizing prospect, one full of elite potential to be a top player in the league within the next five years. His shooting is light years ahead of Simmons, so teams looking for spacing will love his ability from all over the court. He has a way to go in terms of becoming a better distributor, and leader on the court. On the defensive side of the ball, Ingram is all potential. If he can add at least another 20 pounds, Ingram could become a devastating two-way player. Ingram will be a top two pick no matter who ends up picking in one of the positions. I believe he is a better fit for the Philadelphia 76ers, who sit at one, as they already have a mess in their frontcourt, and adding a one-dimensional offensive player to the mix will only make it worse.
Pro Comparison: Kevin Durant
This is the comparison almost everyone will make, but visually it just makes too much sense. Durant is lengthy, highly intelligent, amazing scorer, and background leader. These are all similar characteristics of Ingram.
On the offensive side of the ball, Ingram and Durant share similar characteristics. Both players use their length to attack the basket, and nearly impossible to stop without sending them to the line. Mid-range is where Durant has made the majority of his money. He is an excellent three point shooter, but prefers the mid-range jumper. Ingram showed follow a similar path of Durant, and not to do too much from the three point line, but slowly destroy the moral of opposing defenses with his mid-range attack. In terms of passing, Durant is a good passer, but not elite, and that is what we just talked about with Ingram. If Ingram gets surrounded by the cast Durant has, his assists numbers should rise to a similar level.
Defensively, Durant is not a shutdown defender, but his length makes him a pesky defender, you do not want guarding you when you are trying to get shots off. Ingram and Durant both can be caught getting lazy on defense, and trying to use their length to stop opponents. Durant was able to beef up after college, now sitting around 240 pounds, compared to Ingram at around 195. Durant has used this added weight to continue being an effective rebounder at the NBA level, and Ingram needs to do a similar thing.
Coming out of college, Durant was more developed than Ingram as an overall player. Ingram’s advantage is his advantage to become a stalwart on defense. If Ingram follows a similar path to Durant on offense, he will have years of success, which should turn into multiple All-Star appearances. He needs to beef up to continue his rebounding ability much like Durant has done. Durant was always questioned for not being a vocal leader, and he turned that notion away with an MVP, and now a conference finals appearance. Ingram is shy, but has the game to have teammates follow him, and he just needs to learn how to inspire them with his words, and he will be a successful go to star for years to come.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17