Duke’s Brandon Ingram is widely considered to be one of the top two prospects in the 2016 NBA Draft class. He and LSU’s Ben Simmons appear to be a near-lock to be selected with the first two picks, although debate rages on regarding which one should be taken first.
With the Philadelphia 76ers holding the first pick and the Los Angeles Lakers second, there have been rumors that Simmons would prefer to slip to second so that he can go to Los Angeles.
Ingram, however, has no such preference regarding his ultimate landing spot. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com caught up with the lanky forward at a workout in New York, and he took the opportunity to state that he wants to be with whichever team wants him:
It’s up to the team that drafts me. It doesn’t matter to me, any organization that can take me that’s where I want to be. I don’t have a certain place that I want to go.
Both Simmons and Ingram are very different in terms of how they play the game, but their superstar potential is undeniable. Of course, a big part of the draft equation is not an athlete’s physical abilities, but instead their mentality.
In this area, Ingram comes across as a young man who has his head on straight and is prepared for the hard work that will be required of him at the professional level. He is already doing what he can to improve his weaknesses, exemplified by his efforts to put weight on his slim frame:
(Strength training is) definitely a priority; it’s one of my deficiencies going into the next level but we know it’s going to take time […] I’m doing anything I can to put on weight and perfect my game.
Ingram credits Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for giving him the right mindset for life as an NBA player. Here, Ingram discusses exactly what he learned from Coach K:
Accountability and responsibility, just taking responsibility for my own actions. Knowing that I’m always being watched, that kids are looking up to me and I try to do the right thing at all times.
It may not be clear exactly where Brandon Ingram will end up, but it appears that he already has a solid head-start on becoming a successful NBA athlete. It’s refreshing to hear an athlete so aware of what his big-picture impact can be on the sport and the millions of kids who play basketball around the country.
For the Lakers, Ingram appears to be a near-perfect fit sliding into the small forward position vacated by the retiring Kobe Bryant. His maturity and mental approach to the game also bodes well for his ability to handle the pressure that comes with playing in Los Angeles.
Either way, the Lakers are in an excellent position, and will be thrilled to leave the draft with either Ingram or Simmons.