Suns Draft Profile: Brandon Ingram
6’9” 196 lbs Small Forward
2015-16 Stats at Duke: 34.6 MPG, 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.4 BPG
Brandon Ingram, the standout small forward out of Duke is a lock to be a top two pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Standing at 6’9” and weighing in at 196 pounds, Ingram looks like an even skinnier Kevin Durant at that age. There are some similarities between the two players, but Durant’s game was much more polished heading into the draft. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Ingram is Kevin Durant 2.0, but with their similar body types and scoring style, it is easy to draw some comparisons.
Ingram’s physical tools could be considered a strength as well as a weakness, but let’s look at the positives first. The 6’9” frame is ideal for playing both forward positions in today’s NBA. Based on his height alone, he would be a natural fit at the small forward spot, and could potentially fill the power forward role in small-ball lineups. Ingram sports a 7’3” wingspan and a 9’1.5” standing reach, which ranks among the best among other players at his position.
A lot of today’s players in the NBA standing 6’9” would have a tough time competing with Ingram when it comes to footwork and fluidity. Ingram does an excellent job with the jab step to create room for himself on the perimeter. He also glides up and down the court in transition, and does a nice job scoring the ball on fast breaks.
With time, Ingram could turn into a solid player in every facet of the game. He put up solid rebounding numbers at Duke (6.8 per game), as well as two assists per game. Ingram possesses a strong basketball IQ and excels in all the fundamentals of the game. His length will play a large role in his success as a defender early in his career, as he will be able to contest shots and get into passing lanes with ease.
Ingram can get buckets in many different ways. The jab step I just mentioned is used to create space for his jumper, but he can also put the ball on the floor and penetrate to the rim out of that. He seems very confident with the ball on the perimeter, but also has a nice turnaround jumper from the post. Ingram shows great touch around the rim when he needs to use some finesse, but can rise up for the dunk. All of these offensive tools should translate nicely for Ingram in his first year as a professional.
Ingram is a string bean, and absolutely needs to put on some weight and become much stronger before he can be a successful two-way player in the NBA. Outside from Durant, a lot of players who play SF or PF have very muscular frames and will give Ingram a lot of trouble when it comes to rebounding or defending the post. Even at Duke, Ingram would get bounced off his track on his way to the rim pretty frequently. Luckily for Ingram, a year or two in an NBA strength and conditioning program will do him wonders.
One thing that can be said about Ingram is that he is not a very explosive athlete. This may be due to his lack of strength, but Ingram doesn’t seem to get much bounce while jumping from one foot. He has much more success going off two feet, but in some situations, this can actually slow him down quite a bit.
How Does He Fit?
Ingram would be a great fit on the 2016-17 Phoenix Suns roster, giving the team another solid scoring option at the wing. But, it is very doubtful that we would see Ingram in a Suns’ jersey unless we see a blockbuster trade go down. If the Suns were to somehow acquire Ingram, I believe he would make either P.J. Tucker or T.J. Warren expendable, due to his great potential on both sides of the floor. With time, Ingram would be a great stretch four on a roster like the Suns’ and would put another great shooter on the court to spread things out.
Check back in a couple days for David’s write-up on Dragan Bender.