The 2016 NBA Draft is rapidly approaching and ESPN Insider and draft guru, Chad Ford, dished on a few prospects the Lakers are considering
There isn’t much argument when it comes to the first overall pick: it will either be Duke’s Brandon Ingram or LSU’s Ben Simmons. This means that the Lakers will be left with whoever isn’t chosen, and they aren’t complaining.
Both players opted to skip the NBA Draft Combine, but news surrounding Ben Simmons’ work on the basketball court has been relatively quiet and that could be telling of his position as first overall pick. Ingram on the other hand, has been working hard as documented by ESPN Insider, Chad Ford.
In one of his latest pieces, he revealed that Ingram is working out in White Plains, New York focusing on two things specifically, “improving his strength and proving his ability to be an elite shooter from the NBA 3-point line.”
This is reassuring for both the Philadelphia 76ers as well as the Lakers seeing as size and strength was the biggest concern critics had when discussing the Duke prospect.
Ingram says he has put on around seven pounds since he started strength training, upping his weight to 197 pounds. Obviously, teams are going to want to see him significantly heavier than that. But he has time.
He is one of the youngest players in the draft and has never done much in the weight room. While his frame is thin, the word from the training staff here was that Ingram is already surprisingly strong.
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When discussing his three point efficiency, Ford brought up the fact that Ingram’s 68 percent free throw shooting might be a “better indicator of a player’s NBA 3-point shooting ability,” but also that he excelled in the shooting star drill.
All things considered, it wasn’t Ingram’s strength or shooting that was the brightest spot from the article, instead it was what Ford said about his demeanor and attitude.
Off the court, Ingram is quiet and determined. A number of GMs remarked that he impressed in his interviews at the draft combine and that all the background reports say he’s a thoughtful, coachable player who’s a good teammate off the court.
Ingram himself dished on the fact that his confidence is what has gotten him to where he is currently, and this confidence is not to be confused with cockiness.
I’m confident… I think confidence got me this far. I always thought I was the best player wherever I was, even with my build I always had confidence.
Confidence to do whatever I wanted regardless of what others said. Determination to make a basket or get a defensive stop. I’ve always been responsible, have put my teammates first and taken responsibility for my own actions.
Ingram has most often been compared to players like Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis, but based on his scouting reports and the answers he’s given it seems like Kawhi Leonard could also be in his cards.
In regards to Thon Maker, the report was oddly similar to Ingram’s: an impressive shooter from outside who would be wise to add weight in order to compete at the NBA level.
Maker has the size, physical tools and determination to be a very good NBA player. But does he have the game?
Both Murray and Ingram say he does. They’ve worked out with him in 3-on-3 and even some 5-on-5 settings and vouch for him that he belongs. Until he gets on the floor in competitive situations against other top prospects, it’s going to be tough to tell.
As stated by Byron Scott previously, three on three work outs are a better gauge to tell if a player can actually play as opposed to individual workouts which can be deceptive, so this report is a great sign for Maker.
Though it remains to be seen just how far Maker will make it down the Big Board, if he is still available at 32 overall, you can be sure that the Lakers will give him fair consideration.