1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons (SF/PF-LSU)
- 19 yrs.
- 6’10”, 239 lbs.
Ben Simmons had one of the most prolific seasons in college basketball history. He was the first player to average 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists since Ron Harper in 1986. The forward from Australia was a consensus first-team All-American and National Freshman of the Year.
His team stunk which caused some to doubt whether or not he should have gone to LSU, but Simmons was disinterested with the college game and ready to move on.
Simmons is incredibly unique, with power forward size and strength, point guard skills, and the ability to guard any position on the court. The youngster is perfect for the current NBA game that is trending away from the traditional big man. The Sixers won’t be able to pass up on that talent.
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram (SF-Duke)
- 18 yrs.
- 6’9″, 196 lbs.
Brandon Ingram was the lightning rod behind one of the nation’s best offenses. Ingram launched an incredible 195 three-pointers, knocking them down at a 41 percent clip. His incredible development over the course of the season has caused many to push him ahead of Simmons on draft boards.
His freakish length and defensive potential have caused scouts to rave about all the positions he will be able to play, the ones he will be able to guard once he packs on muscle. His skinny frame has caused the Kevin Durant college comparisons to creep up on him. While at Texas, Durant was the first freshman ever to win the Naismith College Player of the Year Award, so that was a little unfair but you can see what people mean.
Durant is one of the best isolation scorers in the NBA and Ingram was commonly called upon to score in the same situations while at Duke.
The most common play in the NBA game, the simple pick and roll, both players used their incredible three-point shooting to step back and use the screen while Ingram was a more willing passer because his Duke team had more weapons than Durant’s Texas team.
The Lakers love a star and the kid from Duke who just put on a show in college is certainly that. I mean he announced he was leaving school via the Player’s Tribune. After just one year at Durham, North Carolina, he’s a big deal and the Lakers are desperate for a wing scorer. It’s a perfect fit.
3. Phoenix Suns: Dragan Bender (PF-Croatia)
- 18 yrs.
- 7’1″, 225 lbs.
If you haven’t heard of Dragan Bender yet, well look him up. He’s this years hot international prospect. Think, Kristaps Porzingis, but raw. Like crazy raw but with ridiculous potential that makes scouts drool. Seriously ignore the numbers and watch a little of this kid in the game.
As the video states, his three-point shooting definitely has a long way to go, and he has to put on a lot of weight before he can play in the post. If he does though we are talking legitimate forward/center potential.
Bender is definitely a project, and what better team to take a flyer on a project than the going nowhere fast Phoenix Suns? Tyson Chandler was a bust and Alex Len hasn’t shown enough to make them pass on a player like Bender.
As we know, the NBA is a copycat league and when it comes to international players everybody wants the next great 7-footer who can shoot.