Nobody should be stunned at who was taken with the top 2 picks in the NBA draft. The Philadelphia Sixers took LSU forward Ben Simmons with the number 1 pick. The Los Angeles Lakers selected Duke forward Brandon Ingram after that. Those picks have been a given for months. But now that the draft is over, which player will have the best rookie season?
Ben Simmons walks into a complete mess in Philly. Last season, the Sixers won 10 games and lost 72. They’ve been tanking for years, trying to get top draft picks, and rebuild. Instead, the roster has too many big man, not enough shooters, and little hope. The expectations are high on Simmons-he’s been considered the top pick since the beginning of the college basketball season-but how will he react to the pressure? At LSU, he couldn’t even lead his team to the NCAA tournament. Although his numbers were impressive, he’s a below average shooter. In a league that increasingly is relying on jump shots and wing players, and less on points in the paint and big man, Simmons will have his work cut out for him.
Let’s shift to the Lakers top pick, Brandon Ingram. As Kobe Bryant departs, Ingram joins a team that has all of the potential in the world. Point guard D’Angelo Russell and forward Julius Randle both had an impact last season, and now with the shadow of Bryant no longer hovering over them, we could see a breakout season for both. Ingram is a tall, athletic forward who can shoot and play defense. He’ll need to put on weight, but at just 18 years old, the Lakers probably aren’t too concerned at this point.
Simmons might put up better numbers because of the team that surrounds him, but will Ingram have an impact on a team that could win more games? Both players have all sorts of potential, but who will have a better rookie season?