Lakers Rumors: Who should the Los Angeles Lakers draft with their top-3 pick? Should they pick Duke prospect Brandon Ingram or Australian prodigy Ben Simmons?
Based on how the Lakers roster is being constructed, it’s safe to say that Ingram would be a better fit. For starters, Julius Randle’s ascension as a double-double machine, besides Larry Nance’s rapid rise, makes it very hard for Lakers to draft Simmons, since he plays Power Forward. Also, the Lakers are desperately in need for a 3-point shooting wing, a description that Ingram fits perfectly.
Better shooter, better wingspan…
Recently, Sports Illustrated made a case for Ingram to be drafted ahead of Simmons. “He’s (Ingram) a much better scorer than Ben Simmons, he’s a more fluid athlete, and given his freakish length, he should turn into a better defender. It’s not because of how the NBA is played now, or how valuable wings are. He’s just a better prospect,” wrote Andrew Sharp in his latest mock draft that sees Ingram superseding Simons as the possible No. 1 pick.
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Also, with D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson rapidly improving as point guards, there’s little room for a player like Simmons, who prefers to run the offense like a point forward. Also note that both Russell and Clarkson aren’t thriving off the ball. If the Lakers add Simmons, it could hurt the production and efficiency of the two young guards.
Fate rests on ping pong balls…
As of this writing, there’s still no guarantee the Lakers will keep their top-3 protected pick. Their fate will be decided on May 17, the night of the draft lottery.
“Barring a late-season win streak, the Lakers will have 19.9% odds for the first overall pick, 18.8% for second and 17.1% for third. To complete the ill-fated Steve Nash trade, the Lakers will send their pick to the Philadelphia 76ers if it drops to fourth or fifth in the lottery, a combined 44.2% chance,” wrote Eric Pincus of the LA Times.
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Think about that for a second. There is still a 44.2% chance that Lakers don’t get a draft pick this season. But if they do, there’s a good chance for them to a talented rookie to a team loaded with young talent.
“A quartet of Ingram, Russell, Randle and Clarkson would stand to be one of the best young cores in the league, rivaling that of the Minnesota Timberwolves. With all four boasting All-Star potential and skill sets that coincide marvelously, it wouldn’t be long before they developed chemistry and became a force to be reckoned with in the league,” writes Carter Johnson of Hoops Habit, making a strong case for Lakers to draft Ingram ahead of Simmons.
Philly prefer Simmons?
Chad Ford, the renowned ESPN draft expert and scout, revealed recently that Philadelphia 76ers are keen on drafting Simmons despite their already crowded front court. “Simmons has been atop their board all year, but the Sixers have one of the front offices that has been wavering a bit lately. For now, though, Simmons stays here (as the No.1 choice). The Sixers need a point guard and feel coach Brett Brown has the chops to use Simmons as a primary creator.”
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Remember, Philadelphia have a 25% shot at getting their first No.1 pick since 1996 when they drafted future hall-of-famer and former MVP Allen Iverson. Sixers have a 64.3% shot at getting a top-3 pick so they have a great chance of adding a rookie to join the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.
Who should the Lakers draft? If they draft Simmons, it could spell trouble for Randle. If they draft Ingram, the rest of the young core will continue to receive playing time. Doesn’t it sound like an easy decision?
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