Well the NBA Draft Lottery has come again and once more the 76ers were in and this year they got the number one pick. Some of us learned during the Draft Lottery on ESPN, while most of learned hours before on Dikembe Mutombo’s twitter. At 4:36 PM, Mutombo tweeted this, “Congrats to @Sixers on grabbing the #1 spot in the #NBADraft #PHILAfirst.” And for those who think the NBA Draft lottery is rigged, this just makes your argument. But that is what makes the NBA Draft so much more intriguing than its NFL counterpart. Now it’s time for the 76ers to make a hard decision: Who’s number one? Duke guard Brandon Ingram or LSU forward Ben Simmons?
Duke’s Brandon Ingram had a great college career in his one year in Durham. He averaged 17 points and close to 7 rebounds this season and led his team to a Sweet 16 appearance. In this season, Brandon Ingram was Duke’s best defender at the guard position. His 6’9″ body allows him to be able to defend many different positions on the court. At the college level, he could guard 1-3 and most of the time could even guard a 4. In his transition to the NBA, Ingram will not be able to consistently guard 4’s, he will definitely still be able to guard 1-3 though. At the guard, he averaged 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He was also in the top five in points, assist, rebounds, steals, blocks, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, three-point percentage, and minutes per game on his team. The only things Ingram needs to be a great pro is to gain some muscle and to raise his field goal percentage by finding a really solid mid-range game.
If I had to compare Ingram to any pro, I would compare him to fellow Blue Devil, Miami Heat Forward, Justise Winslow. Not the size, but they have the same play. Both players are great defenders and can guard most positions on the court. They both came into the draft process with the same questions. Ingram could make a real difference on a team.
And then there is LSU’s Ben Simmons. He was the next great foreign player to take over the college basketball scene and then run to the league after his one year stay at college.
This Australian can ball. He averaged averaged a double-double this season with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Let’s also add this, he was the leader in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and field goal percentage per game on LSU.
At 6’10″and 225 pounds, he guarded 1-4 and sometimes even the 5 in college and in his transition to the league he will mostly do the same.
Simmons is entering the league at the right time. He fits the mold of the current NBA player. He has the big man body but can move fluidly. He is the small forward that can bring the ball down the court, run the offense, and make the best play for the offense. There are two things Simmons needs to do to fulfill his great potential. One is find a jump shot. During his one year at LSU, most of his shots did not come outside the paint. And the other, he need to be more aggressive. I would love to see him call for the ball more when he thinks he can attack. There were ten games this season were Simmons took less than ten shots and only two games where he took more than 15 shots.
If I had to compare Simmons to any pro it would be LeBron James. More than likely he is not going to be LeBron James, I get that. I make the comparison only because he is small forward that can play and or guard almost every position on the court and because both players have high game IQ. Simmons needs people around him that can see the court like him and many of his teammates at LSU just were not on the same page. I think a more accurate comparison to his game would be a taller Rajon Rondo.
Either one of these players is great pick for number one, but if you ask me, I would pick LSU’s Ben Simmons.