The Lakers selected Duke's Brandon Ingram with the No. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA draft.
Ingram averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and shot 41% from beyond the three-point line in his lone season at Duke. Paired with Grayson Allen, Ingram led the Blue Devils to a Sweet 16 berth in the NCAA tournament.
Ingram rose to prominence as a high school standout from Kinston, N.C. as he won four straight North Carolina state titles. In his freshman season at Duke, he earned ACC Rookie of the Year honors while also quietly moving up in the ranks to enter the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick.
Strengths: Ingram’s skill set points to where the NBA is headed, his shooting and size inspire fever dreams around front offices and suggest a significant ceiling for his production. All 30 teams would love to have a legit 6’9” floor spacer who can create his own shot and handle the ball. He’ll be just 18 years old on draft night, young enough that he could be part of next year’s freshman class, and put together an impressive one-and-done year at Duke, all things considered. “He competes,” one scout says. “You’re going to need that kind of dog [in you] to succeed at our level.” Ingram could eventually play both forward spots and has the type of lanky frame that projects well defensively down the line. He’s oozing with possibility.
Weaknesses: Because of Ingram’s shooting ability, there’s some perceived safety in this pick, but it’s probably going to take him a couple seasons to put it all together. Given how young he is, that may not matter to the Sixers or Lakers. Part of that is a largely undeveloped frame—he’s begun to pack on weight, but Ingram’s still a beanpole. “He has freaky length, but i think your concern is who would he actually defend in a game,” another scout said, “and how much strength will he actually be able to put on long term?” His play was at times inconsistent. That said, there are no glaring red flags.
Grade: A. Thanks to a hard consensus on the top two selections, L.A. fell into the cushiest spot in the entire draft. Ingram, with his size, smooth jumper and ability to score, has All-Star caliber upside. His skills will be a nice fit with the Lakers’ young pieces, particularly with coach Luke Walton arriving to shape their development. Ingram needs to gain weight and is a year or two from consistently contributing, but long-term his upside is tantalizing. When it’s all said and done, he may score more points than anyone in the class. — Jeremy Woo