(First posted at RealGM)
Ingram is one of the two best prospects in this draft due to his shot making while standing at six-foot-nine, which is an appealing package.
The 18-year-old lacks explosiveness to get by people in isolation and turning the corner out of the pick-and-roll but has a decent handle and fluidity to go side-to-side to create separation one-on-one and pull-up from mid-range. He can stop on a dime and elevate with great balance, getting his shot off comfortably over just about any defender thanks to his length.
That’s also the case off the catch, where Ingram excels up to elite status. His mechanics are clean, he elevates with great rhythm and his release is quick. Ingram hit 41% of his 195 three-point shots, not only spotting up on the weak-side as a floor spacer but also flashing the ability to shoot on the move – coming off pindown screens and even working as the screener on pick-and-pops.
He fully extends himself, which together with his length leads to a high release point in his shot that makes it tough for opponents to contest effectively. Ingram can also take advantage of that ability to shoot over defenders by taking smaller wings into the post. His lack of strength has hurt him in a couple of matchups, with opponents pushing him out of deep position, and he is not looking to get physical with power moves but a couple of bumps is all he needs to create enough separation for a short turnaround pull-up that often tends to be a good look.
By midseason, Ingram had shown the ability to get to the rim by relying on a nifty spin move that it made tough for defenders to contain his momentum, displaying impressive coordination moving in tight spaces, and finish with explosiveness elevating out of one foot.
But that aggressiveness pursuing the rim declined in the second half of the year and Ingram looked less capable of attacking length at the basket with burst against tougher competition. According to hoop-math, he shot 58.8% at the rim last season, with such attempts accounting to just 25% of his shot selection. His slight 195-pound frame doesn’t invite much contact, resulting an anticlimactic average of 5.5 foul shots per 40 minutes.
Another undeveloped area of his skill-set is creating for others. Ingram was put in the pick-and-roll with some regularity at Duke but didn’t showcase particularly impressive passing skills. His height gives him a good vantage point against traps and doubles, but he mostly looks to attack the middle of the floor or pull-up from the mid-range against standard coverage.
Ingram is a willing passer in transition and when the defense collapses in a way that makes it hard to miss someone open, but has not shown much in the way of passing instincts for now – assisting on just 11.2% of Duke’s scores when he was on the floor, according to our stats database.
But biggest concern surrounding his ability to reach elite status regards his defense. Ingram was a minus on that end, with the exception of a few sporadic efforts, and his presence alongside Grayson Allen (another weak link) even forced Mike Krzyzewski to have them guarding in zone a whole lot more than in previous teams.
He defends flat-footed, quite often not getting in his stance. His closeouts are also an issue, as opponents have been able to go around him off the dribble and attack the basket with a lot of ease.
Ingram’s fluidity is supposed to make him an asset to guard multiple positions but that’s definitely not the case right now. He can’t defend smaller players, unable to get low and navigate over ball-screens. And he can’t guard bigger players while frame doesn’t develop, lacking size and physicality to hold ground in the post and box out under the defensive glass.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara