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Stiffs NBA Draft series: Brandon Ingram

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Brandon Ingram's sweet shot, extra length and ultra high ceiling make him a potential #1 pick in this year's draft.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Yale vs Duke Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Stiffs will be covering all of the top prospects in the 2016 NBA Draft in our Stiffs NBA draft series. Check back daily for video, stats, and analysis of all the projected first round prospects.

Stiffs Draft Series

Thon Maker Denzel Valentine Marquese Chriss Jaylen Brown
Dragan Bender Cheick Dialo Furkan Korkmaz Skal Labissiere
DeAndre Bembry Jamal Murray Tyler Ulis Buddy Hield
Malachi Richardson Domantas Sabonis Brice Johnson Deyonta Davis

Brandon Ingram

Stats
Points Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks Turnovers Field Goal % Three Point % Free Throw %
17.3 6.8 2.0 1.1 1.4 2.0 44.2 41.0 68.2

Strengths

Shooting - Ingram comes into the draft as one of the best shooters available. He shot 41% from three point range on 195 attempts and converts his mid-range jumper at a high rate as well. Ingram’s motion is fluid and despite his lengthy frame he has a quick release which allows him to get shots off even in the face of tight defense. Hid height also allows him to shoot over most wing defenders.

Length - At just under 6’10" in shoes, Ingram possesses above average height for the small forward position. Additionally, his wingspan is ridiculous, measuring in at 7’3" at the Nike Hoop Summit. Despite not being an elite defender, elite athlete or elite finisher, Ingram’s length mitigates those weaknesses making him competent in all three areas.

Ball handling - Ingram possesses ball handling skills much closer to a guard than a forward. His is a capable pick and roll ball handler and is effective from the triple threat position, utilizing his handle and length to get by defenders on drives to the basket. Continuing to strengthen his ball handling and driving abilities will be paramount for Ingram in the NBA as teams are likely to crowd him at the perimeter to prevent him from using his lethal shooting ability.

Weaknesses

Strength - At 6’9" Ingram still weighs under 200lbs. His frame is slight to say the least and he lacks the strength to be an effective post player. In this day and age of the NBA its reasonable to assume teams will want to have Ingram spend some time playing the power forward position but at his current physical stature he likely will get abused inside by bigger 4s.

Defensive effort - With his wingspan, Ingram has the physical tools to be a nightmare on the perimeter on defense, but that just wasn’t the case at Duke. It should be stated that a lot of times Duke had him playing the power forward position which, as noted in his strength weaknesses, is not ideal. Still, when looking at the film it’s easy to see that Ingram is often out of position on D and allows his opponent to get by him too easily. He also doesn’t put forth the type of effort one would like to see on the glass either, oftentimes not boxing out his man and giving up an offensive rebound.

Free throw shooting - Ingram got to the line enough with nearly five attempts per game, but for whatever reason, he simply did not convert at a high rate. He shot just 68.7% from the free throw line, an eyebrow raising stat considering he shot over 40% from three. The issues is clearly not mechanics so one would have to assume its a mental thing. Some guys with solid shooting form can up that percentage drastically with simple repetition, though others never really get over the mental hurdle. Only time will tell which category Ingram falls under.

Pro comparisons (best to worst):

Kevin Durant - This is of course the absolute max ceiling for Ingram, and to expect him to reach it is asking a lot. Still, don’t think every current Clippers fan in Los Angeles isn’t expecting Ingram to turn out exactly like this when they pick up their new #14 Lakers jersey. Durant’s scoring ability is far greater than Ingram’s and he produced at a greater rate in college as well. However, the similar frame (though again, Durant was already stronger at the same age) and shooting touch make this an easy comparison. In order to even potentially come close to Durant's stratosphere Ingram will have to improve his post ability, his finishing ability, his defensive ability and his overall physical stature. So if he does all that, then maybe.

Jamal Crawford - Ingram has Crawford beat on height, but if he falls short of his superstar potential and fails to develop his game further then a shooting/scoring specialist is exactly where he could end up. Both players have issues on defense but both have the ability to knock down shots with regularity even when defenders are in their face. There certainly is hope that Ingram will be able to be much more than a shooting specialist, but without enhancing other parts of his game that’s all he will be.

DerMarr Johnson: With only one year of college under his belt the risk/reward on Ingram is way up. There’s a chance he may be a superstar, but there’s also a chance he may be a bust. Johnson was a touted one and done prospect out of the University of Cincinnati and he too was a shooting specialist who had a thin frame and struggled defensively. Johnson went sixth overall to the Hawks in 2000 but was never able to adapt his game to make him more than a role player and he was out of the Association after bouncing around for seven seasons.

Fit with the Nuggets

The fit is tremendous. From a standpoint of ability and need there is no better player in the entire Draft for the Nuggets than Ingram. He brings the shooting that Denver desperately needs and also the superstar potential. If he focuses on improving his defense then he can also become a lock down lengthy perimeter defender as well, another thing the Nuggets are sorely locking. The strength concerns aren't all that big because of Steve Hess and his ability to get the most out of an athlete’s body.

The problem of course is there’s no way Ingram slides past the #2 position in the draft. The only way for him to end up in a Denver uniform is to work out a trade that lands them the pick currently held by the Los Angeles Lakers who are currently relying on Nick Young and Larry Nance Jr to fill that small forward role. Ingram would be a huge upgrade for them. Denver likely would have to swing some sort of three team deal or give up Nikola Jokic (and then some) to secure the #2 overall pick so despite the tremendous fit, Ingram in Denver is not likely to happen.

Projected draft spot

SB Nation - 1 (76ers)

Draft Express - 2 (Lakers)

CBS Sports (Vecenie) - 2 (Lakers)

NBADraft.net - 2 (Lakers)

Final Thought

The second player in a so called two player draft is still a pretty good position to be in. Ingram projects to a major weapon on offense and showed enough in one year at Duke to have GMs salivating at those shot mechanics. However, it still remains to be seen whether or not he can overcome his shortcomings to become a truly elite player. By no means is he a sure fire prospect.

Ingram has all the tools to be a superb player in the NBA. However, he definitely has some issues on defense and he has to grow into his frame. However, as James Harden has shown us, if you can light it up on the offensive end it won’t much matter how bad you are on defense. It’s a shame that the Nuggets won't get a shot at him because he really does fit so well on the team. No doubt though Ingram is happy to be in all likelihood headed to Los Angeles.

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SAVE THE DATE THURSDAY 6/23
STIFFS NIGHT OUT: 2016 NBA DRAFT

Join your fellow Stiffs as we find out what the Nuggets will do with their THREE first round selections during the 2016 NBA Draft. We will gather at our home bar Jake's Sports & Spirits (3800 Walnut Street) around 5:30pm and Jake's will extend happy hour drink prices for us all draft long. And we'll play Denver Nuggets draft trivia for prizes, including individual game tickets during the 2016-17 season. We hope to see you there!

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