The 2016 NBA Draft is still several months away, but many are expecting Ben Simmons of Louisiana State University will be the first overall pick. Nevertheless, his skill set and potential have been compared to the likes of Earvin “Magic” Johnson and LeBron James.
However, Simmons won’t be able to showcase his abilities in the upcoming NCAA Tournament because the LSU Tigers did not make it. That is one of the reasons some may think that the 19-year-old forward may not be top prospect heading into the draft.
Desire to Win and Shooting the Ball
Jonathan Givony of The Vertical pointed out several other reasons why Simmons might not be the unanimous first selection and the best player of the 2016 class. First and foremost is his desire to win as he was not able to lead LSU into the NCAA Tournament.
NBA teams looking to build around him as their franchise star would want someone with consistency. Another is that he values stats more than winning. Simmons can stuff the stat sheet every night but it may not lead to wins.
Another problem is his outside shooting since it’s the most important ability of today’s game. Just look at the Golden State Warriors and their best players. It’s one of the weak points in Simmons’ game as evidenced by teams daring him to shoot.
Simmons is a gifted ball handler for his 6-10 frame and possesses an NBA-ready body. But if he will not be the top prospect of the 2016 NBA Draft, who is?
Brandon Ingram (SF – Duke University)
If Simmons is seen as the next LeBron, Brandon Ingram is compared to Kevin Durant. The 18-year-old freshman is a legitimate scorer and has the same frame as “KD.” He’s lanky but can handle the ball and score the ball with ease.
Ingram would need to bulk up, but his scoring ability is more than enough for the team with the first overall pick to select him over Simmons.
Jaylen Brown (SF – University of California)
This 19-year-old forward is being compared to Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler. Brown stands at 6-7 and 222 pounds, which will translate well in the NBA. He is an athletic player with a 7-foot wingspan that could make him a great two-way player. His jump shot is better than Simmons, but it will need more work.
Dragan Bender (PF – Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Many casual basketball fans have never heard of this 18-year-old, 7-1 Croatian. He is the prototypical stretch four but is very agile for his size. The NBA has been captivated by Kristaps Porzingis this season and Bender could very well do it next year.