In less than two weeks, the Sixers will make a crucial decision and select the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
On Monday, they got a closer look at one of the two projected top picks, Brandon Ingram.
The 18-year-old Duke forward participated in an individual workout at the Sixers’ practice facility. On Sunday night, he spent time with the staff and Joel Embiid, and took the court the next morning for one-on-none drills that included shooting, pick-and-rolls and mobility.
“He’s a versatile forward that can handle the ball, can shoot the ball,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. “I’ve referred to him as a silky-smooth small forward. He can do a lot.”
Ingram’s draft stock skyrocketed during his freshman (and only) season at Duke. He credited his coaches and teammates for his quick rise. Ingram averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 blocks last season. He shot 44.2 percent from the floor and 41.0 percent from three.
The first pick is widely considered to be between Ingram and Ben Simmons. The LSU forward had been touted as a lock for No. 1 until Ingram’s strong showing. Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists last season as a freshman. The Sixers do not have a workout scheduled with Simmons yet.
Ingram believes his mental toughness and character set him apart from other players in the draft. He is motivated by both criticism and praise, and has been trying to listen to a close inner circle during the draft process.
“(I’m) just a low-key guy,” Ingram said. “I let people assume a little bit. But I just try to get my work done under wraps and just try to come out and do the best that I can.”
One critique of Ingram has been his weight. At 6-foot-9, he is listed at 196 pounds. His former high school coach, Perry Tyndall, previously told CSNPhilly.com Ingram uses his craftiness and basketball IQ to create his own shots.
Colangelo believes whichever team selects Ingram will have to implement a conditioning plan to help him build an NBA body early on and for years into his career.
“Obviously, he’s going to have to put some more weight on that frame,” Colangelo said. “You don’t want to get too bogged down or muscle-bound, if you will. You want to be wiry strong, and he’s certainly got the wiry part down. The strong part is the next phase of that evolution as a player.”
Ingram worked out with the Lakers, who hold the No. 2 pick, last week in Los Angeles. He does not have workouts with any other teams lined up and plans to train on his own leading up to the draft. On that night, June 23, he will learn where he'll begin his life in the league.
"At the end of the day, of course, I can’t make the decisions," Ingram said. "It would be good to hear my name called one, two or three in the draft. It doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m an NBA player."