NBA Draft: Brandon Ingram Philadelphia 76ers Prospect Watch

Mar 19, 2016; Providence, RI, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) shoots over Yale Bulldogs forward Brandon Sherrod (35) during the second half of a second round game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2016; Providence, RI, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) shoots over Yale Bulldogs forward Brandon Sherrod (35) during the second half of a second round game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Dunkin Donuts Center. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports /

In a tale of the top two prospects, Brandon Ingram stacks up against Ben Simmons. Should the Philadelphia 76ers look into him?

Heading into the NBA Draft lottery the fan of the Philadelphia 76ers are asking themselves the question, “Do we draft the best player available (BPA) or draft for need?”

Without a doubt this is about the top two prospects on the board, Ben Simmons (viewed as the former) or Brandon Ingram (the latter). Philly would love to have either after the draft, as both are quality players in their own right, but which is the best player to take this team to the next level?

While Ben Simmons is a spectacular player in his own right and would help Philadelphia with his playmaking ability, I’m here to tout the brilliance of Brandon Ingram, whose sweet stroke has taken the imagination of Sixer fans.

Let’s take a look at what makes Ingram so special!

More from The Sixer Sense


Height: 6’9″
Weight: 196 lbs
Wingspan: 7’3″

College Resume

One thing that Brandon Ingram has over Ben Simmons is that he led his team to the big dance where his Duke Blue Devils were a no. 4 seed in the tournament who made to to the Sweet 16, losing to the Oregon Ducks who were a no. 1 seed.

Ingram impressed scouts early and often during his college career. In his first two games as a Blue Devil he scored 15 and 21 points, respectively, against Siena College and Bryant, which lasted all the way to the tournament, where he averaged 23 points. Critics can’t even say he feasted on weak defenses, as he put up 25 against no. 7 Virginia and 20 against no. 5 North Carolina in Chapel Hill!

Sure, he did have a couple of duds, like his early game against no. 2 Kentucky where he only had 4 points, and 8 points against no. 18 Louisville, but he also ended the season scoring 24 against the Oregon team that knocked Duke out of the tournament!

The hype for this kid was real throughout the season and he never let his supporters down as he came up with big games consistently and was one of the main offensive threats (the other was Grayson Allen) on a team that everyone wants to take down, especially after Duke won the tournament last year.

The video below shows how dangerous Brandon can be when he’s locked in. Yes, UNC Wilmington is not a powerhouse team but the game was set in the tournament, where the lights are brighter and everyone plays their hardest. When watching, his natural instincts to score and dish the ball while in the flow of the offense shine. He is not a ball stopper and consistently makes smart decisions on how to effectively put the ball in the hoop, plus the entire repertoire is shown, whether it be drives, hitting the outside shot, post-ups, or playmaking.

Experts Take

Sports Illustrated – #1
FanSided – #2
DraftExpress – #1 – #2
ESPN, Chad Ford (Insider) – #2

Related Story: Prospect Watch: Ben Simmons

What We Say

As mentioned in many spaces, Brandon’s shooting can help the Sixers desperate for perimeter offense. Watching him play you can see that he has true scorer’s instincts and makes quick decisions on how to attack the defense, whether it be sliding to receive a pass in an open spot or attacking the basket. His scoring instincts also translate to his playmaking abilities where he will often make the correct read when setting up his teammates. His offensive IQ is very high for a freshman but will no doubt need to polish it up even more when he gets to the NBA; experience will be his best friend when implementing this skill into his game.

The thing that intrigues scouts the most is his overall length. Not only is he tall but Brandon has an enormous wingspan, rivaling that of true centers (for example, both Andrew Bogut and Tyson Chandler‘s pre-draft wingspans were 7’3″). This gives him a near unblockable shot, and really helps his forays to the rim. He can still score in a crowd because he can simply lift the ball over the defender’s head for the shot attempt. He does need to work on developing a consistent floater and relies on two-handed double-clutch shots way too often, which have flatter trajectories and more likely to miss.

His length is key to his overall game, since Brandon currently has sub-elite athleticism in the half court. He needs to work on his handles to be able to gut a defense for layups or to swing to an open defender, which will bring his game to a higher level. Right now he is good at making one move and attacking in a straight line, similar to how Klay Thompson plays, but a single move will not help the Sixers who need another playmaker on the team. Offensively this will be his highest priority.

Brandon plays excellent help defense. Again, using his long arms he can come from the weak side where he can take advantage of an opposing player only looking at the first level of defense. There are numerous highlights of him coming in for a huge block or pilfering a cross-court steal for a transition bucket, all of which he does very well. His on-ball defense does need work, as his lateral movement does need to get quicker and bigger players (note: almost everyone in the NBA) can out-muscle his lithe frame.

Next: T.J. McConnell is Worth Developing at Low Cost

How Does He Fit With The Sixers?

My colleague Josh Wilson wrote up an excellent piece on Brandon’s potential impact if he were to join the Sixers, and there are also more points we’d like to make here. The kid is a natural first option, which the Sixers need right now. Jahlil Okafor can’t carry the team by himself on that offensive side of the ball, especially in late game situations where teams know he’s the only player who can manufacture a shot for himself. Ish Smith has helped as a playmaker but is far too inconsistent as a finisher to be a threat for defenses.

The offense of this team can really hum with Ish initiating the offense and with Brandon cutting off-ball, while Jahlil gets deep position down low; this would be a nightmare for teams to defend since they’d have to pick their poison between the outside gunner and the inside behemoth. Not only that, but Brandon’s willingness to pass can appease Jah, who needs his touches, and Nerlens Noel who can parlay his athleticism into lobs off of misdirection. Let’s not forget that Jah can do this too, since one of his biggest strengths before coming to the pros was his passing ability (yes he did not show that last year, but who was he going to pass to really?).

Also imagine his Go-Go-Gadget arms alongside Noel’s even more Go-Go-Gadget arms on defense and it’s easy to see the Sixers playing an aggressive defense, predicated on trapping pick-and-rolls to force turnovers and to get easy buckets. Yes, he does have much to work on defensively, but he also has the tools to become a great defender; I mean, that wingspan is very difficult to get around no matter how fast you are.

There are no doubt many things Philadelphia needs to improve themselves to get out of the basement, and getting players to maximize the potential of all of the players, not only individually, but collectively as one unit. Coach Brown can no doubt draw up plays to leverage all of the strengths on his team into a well-oiled machine, but first they need that key cog to get the offense really humming… and that cog’s name is Brandon Ingram.