NBA Draft: Battle of Tanking

The NBA has fallen victim to one of the most heinous crimes any sports team can impose on its fans, tanking. The act of losing games on purpose in order to gain a better spot in the draft is currently dominating sports. While some teams refuse to stoop so low many others are joining the trend. The team who is best known for this trend would be the Philadelphia 76ers. With four straight years of not winning 40 games it is fair to say that Philly has been accepting losing from their basketball team. For three straight years they drafted highly respected players in the first round who all played the same position. With the first overall pick since selecting Allen Iverson in 1996, Philly has a chance to turn around the tank and stop being the joke of the league. The decision they have to make is between two players, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.

After the top two picks this year the speculation is endless. Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the consensus top two picks in this years draft in that order. As the NBA continues to be dominated by the three pointer, the case for spacing on the court is an all time high. A player such as Draymond Green is currently transcending the NBA. A power forward with the ability to guard the center position but also step out and shoot the three is what the NBA seems to be transitioning too. The small ball game is taking over the NBA in a big way, which leads me to this years NBA draft. The prediction for the number pick this year is Ben Simmons. The 6’10” forward who went to LSU for one year is regarded as the best player in this year’s draft. Averaging 19 points a game and 12 rebounds is a very impressive stat line. He has flashes of LeBron James in his game as he has the ability to handle the ball like a point guard and pass the same way. With the skill set he displays he seems to be a no brainer for the first overall pick. The main issue for him is that he does not shoot jump shots. He shot 3-18 all season on jump shots all season.

While he may be the most complete prospect in this draft I think it is going to be difficult for him without a jumper. As the NBA game continues to move further away from the rim the need for jump shooting is at an all time high. While I cannot sit here and think that Ben Simmons will not be an impactful player in this year’s class it is hard for me to overlook the potential of Brandon Ingram.

 

Brandon Ingram is the complete opposite of Ben Simmons. The lanky small forward from Duke has a Kevin Durant type game to him. The 6’9” forward weighing 190 pounds is and needing to add on some weight. However what he lacks in muscle he makes up for in his range. He shot 41 percent from the three-point line and averaged 17 points a game. Ingram seems to be a fit for the new wave of the NBA. Someone with that type of size is generally not that athletic and as good of a shooter. While he will need to gain some muscle, Ingram has upside to be a perennial all-star.

Even with all the reasons that show Ingram may be the better fit I still have a hard time seeing Simmons not going first. He is a once in a generation prospect and will probably end up going first. After he and Ingram go one and two however there is more uncertainty in the draft than ever before.

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