Is Brandon Ingram ready for Hollywood?

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Brandon Ingram thrived under the spotlight in his year at Duke, and on Thursday he'll almost certainly shine as the No. 2 pick. We asked a pro scout for a breakdown, then had our Insiders -- and the likely Laker himself -- weigh in.


There are people who compare him to Kevin Durant, and that's not fair.1 He shot it well as a freshman, and our league loves length.2 He also answered questions about his mental toughness at Duke.3 But the biggest concern for me is his body.4 If he doesn't gain weight, it's hard to envision him being effective in the NBA.5 Much of what he did came against slower, bigger players, so I just don't know if he's quick enough to get by athletic wings in the NBA.6 But everything you hear about him is what a high-character kid he is, and he'll be a good addition to a locker room.7 He's an underrated passer, unselfish when he needs to be, and he has the ability to make his teammates better.8 He'll have a nice career in the NBA, but I'm not sold he'll be an All-Star. It's going to take time.9



1 It's not. Durant's 8.8 win shares at Texas is the fourth most as a freshman in Sports-Reference's database, which goes back to 1995-96. Ingram doesn't rank in the top 100.


2 Those are the two biggest draws for Ingram. Players who have his length and shooting ability are rare. But he is far from one-dimensional -- his passing ability is hugely underrated.


3 I knew there would be a lot expected of Ingram. He's a quiet kid who I wasn't sure was ready to become a go-to guy at a place like Duke. But after struggling with it a bit early, he embraced it.


4 I think I am going to surprise people with my strength. During my draft preparation, I have been focusing on improving my body -- conditioning, weightlifting and agility.


5 He needs to gain a lot of weight. It's a problem. But I'd also say he's wiry strong, and he wouldn't be the first thin player to thrive in the NBA.


6 I know I am quick enough to compete. The league has evolved for players who can play multiple positions, and I can do that. I have the ability to beat longer defenders on the perimeter as well as use my length against shorter defenders.


7 I'll be shocked if he's not one of the most coachable players on his team -- and even in the league. He is extremely well-liked by just about everyone.


8 I pride myself on being able to make the extra pass and adapt to what the defense shows. If the defense is going to focus on me, I can find an open man. The more complete player I can be, the better those around me will be.


9 My college projections suggest Ingram will perform at about replacement level as a rookie. Of the 10 players most similar at the same age in college by my system, two (Luol Deng and Paul George) have become All-Stars.

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