2015-16 Season Stats:
44% from the field
41% from three
69% from the free-throw line
Weight: 190 pounds Height w/shoes: 6′9.5″. Wingspan: 7'3″. Max Vert: N/A
Any way you want it. You want it inside? Ingram will drive it in and finish over traffic. Want him taking the 3-pointer? Splash. Brandon Ingram's multifaceted offensive game is why Ben Simmons isn't far and away the clear-cut choice for the number one selection in this June's NBA Draft. Although he started off slowly this season for Duke, Ingram figured things out mid-season, and he hasn't looked back since.
Ingram gets flooded with Kevin Durant comparisons on a daily basis, but the connections stems far beyond the similarities of their skinny frames. Ingram does play in a similar way compared to young Kevin Durant back around 2007 and 2008. Although people love to point to Ingram's skinny frame and say that he won't be able to bang with the most physical bodies in the world, look at Durant. Once Ingram hits NBA weight rooms, there's little doubt that he'll be able to fill out his frame. He has already shown a dedication to lifting, seeing as how he put on multiple pounds of muscle following his senior year leading up to his debut with Duke.
While at times Ingram was forced to take a backseat to teammate Grayson Allen, the number one offensive option, he clearly impacts games in different ways, and this is also a big difference that sets him apart from Ben Simmons. Ingram is surprisingly a great defender for his level. He recognizes the tools he has, and he uses them to be a great weak side help defender. Many times this year, we've seen one of his teammates get beaten to the rim only for the ensuing shot to be sent the opposite direction. Not only that, but Ingram goes for substance over flash by trying to keep the ball in bounds after a monster swat, allowing for his teammates and himself to run the break.
Another reason why Ingram is already so solid a defender is a result of his lateral quickness. He slides his feet so well, and that lets him keep up with attacking guards. His weakness on defense is, of course, his frame. With his height, there are times when he either switches onto or initially defends opposing power forwards. When those players back down against Ingram in the post, that shows how weak his lower body and core are. Thankfully for Ingram, his length makes it difficult for post players to get shots up because no matter how far in the post they are, they still have to shoot over his extended arms.
There were concerns coming in about Ingram's attitude being too relaxed, but being put under Coach K's system changed that as the season progressed. Early on, part of Ingram's struggles included his lax mentality, including a stinker he laid in an early season matchup against Kentucky. As the season moved forward, we saw a more dialed in Ingram, and the result was watching him being an impactful player on both ends of the floor.
Offensively, Ingram is a gem. He uses high basketball IQ to pick his spots, and he gets across the court at will with long strides due to his stringy frame. Eventually, Ingram might be able to master the gyro-step, the Giannis Antetokounmpo version of the euro-step. Ingram's shooting numbers regressed greatly towards the end of the end of February leading into March, but the important thing to notice is that he didn't stop shooting. Early on in November, Ingram would notice he didn't have it and disappear for the rest of the game. Ingram has remained engaged and has found other ways to help his team. Duke has been wildly inconsistent this year, but since December started, one thing you can count on (barring a couple of exceptions) is Ingram putting up double-digit scoring games. If he continues shooting at a 40%+ clip in the pros while filling out his frame, Ingram will be a dangerous offensive weapon at the next level.
As opposed to Ben Simmons, Ingram can fit on most teams in the league. Who doesn't need a 6-foot-9 swingman who can play solid defense and shoot the 3-pointer at a high clip? 3-and-D's are "common" enough, but Ingram is much more than that. By continuing to develop as a two-way player, Ingram can become a high-profile player in the NBA. Any team that lands a top-two pick in this year's Draft will absolutely have to take a look at Ingram, a player with star potential in his own right.