With this year’s college and NBA basketball season coming to an end, there will be an increased obsession with the NBA draft and speculation on where a lot of these young college athletes will land for the 2016-2017 NBA basketball season. To ensure a solid pick, many NBA scouts, and basically, anyone involved in the happenings of the NBA draft attempt to compare a player to a current NBA player. A player that’s already established in the game. Duke freshman guard Brandon Ingram has been the topic as of late, with people comparing him to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Is this a fair comparison?
Eh could be. It’s surely an easy comparison to make when you take a quick look at their build, and skill set, but what makes it a valid argument is when you break down their individual games. They are actually very similar in many aspects.
Shooting wise, they are all but the same player, Durant’s field goal percentage was higher while at Texas, shooting 47.3 percent when Ingram shot the ball at 44.2 percent for the year while at Duke. Ingram actually shoots the ball better from three-point range at 41 percent, with KD shooting just a bit lower at 40. However, these comparisons don’t hold much weight, though, only because of the difference in positions…Durant being a forward that played a lot down low and Ingram being primarily a guard. That’s probably why Durant’s shooting percentage is slightly higher than Ingrams.
Both Kevin and Brandon stand at 6-foot-9, but in college, KD weighed 225 pounds which off appearance looked pretty skinny (perhaps they added 15 pounds but I can’t prove it). Unbelievably so, Ingram weighs 35 pounds less than that at only 190 pounds. Just like KD did in college, he has a rough time with the weights. He isn’t the strongest guy in the world, but I’m sure that will get better as his career progresses, just like it has for Kevin. This kid will never be considered strong when talking about physical strength, barring a monumental change in stature, but his skill set will more than likely overshadow that one aspect. Another reason why strength isn’t a huge problem for Ingram is because of his position. He won’t be called on to go down in the post too often, like Durant often does. He’s a combo guard, Durant is a guard/forward. He’ll be going up against those medium sized, 6-foot-4 to 6-foot-7 guards on an average night and sometimes may guard the opposing team’s point guard. In many of these cases, he can beat those guys with length.
Durant was more of a scorer on paper, averaging 25.8 points per game versus Ingram’s 17.3 but honestly, that could be a difference in offenses. Everyone knows Coach K at Duke likes more of a half-court type of game, when Texas, at least during my years of watching the game, has a run and gun type of offense, which gave him more opportunities to score the ball. Durant shot 647 times, including 203 attempts from beyond the arc in 35 games. Ingram shot 624 times including 195 attempts from beyond the arc in 36 games. Seems like these players actually are a lot alike, with Durant having the slight edge, because of points per game.
On paper and physically, these players have a strong resemblance, but there are too many variables here which makes it hard to really make a fair judgment. Maybe if these guys played the same position in the same type of offense while in college, things would be clearer. Although one thing these two surely have in common is their draft projections. KD was drafted second overall in the 2007 NBA draft and Brandon is projected to be the second pick in the 2016 NBA draft. Just like his NBA twin, he probably should go No. 1 overall, but the world is so man crazy about LSU’s Ben Simmons who’s proven to be overly passive, which isn’t an attractive attribute to have as a big man in the NBA. Hopefully, my Lakers can pick him up. That’d be a nice piece to go around the young talent that’s already there.