LAS VEGAS — It is completely, wildly unfair to compare a top draft pick with one of the better scorers the game has ever seen. Fans and draft evaluators need to stop doing things like saying “Ben Simmons is the next LeBron James” or whatever. Nobody is the next LeBron.
Kevin Durant was asked about that comparison and was kind to Ingram.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski also praised Ingram and said he loved the kid — who happened to play at Duke.
“He’s strong minded. And he’s stronger physically than people would think,” Coach K said.
Maybe, but after watching him at Summer League where Ingram was buffeted around by physically stronger players, it’s something he has to work on.
Ingram is more polished coming out of college than Durant was — Ingram has a smooth, fluid game — and he is a better three-point shooter than young Durant. But even then KD was a better raw scorer in college — again, we are talking about one of the better pure scorers the game has ever seen. And Durant over the years polished those skills and took them to levels very likely beyond what Ingram is going to reach. That doesn’t mean Ingram is destined to fail — I’m talking to you, overly sensitive Lakers’ fans — but the Durant comparison was never realistic or fair.
One other note on the positive statements: At the USA camp, there is nothing but praise for everybody. Nobody says a negative word about a player publicly — not the coaches, not the guys on the team. Nobody. It’s a love-in. Part of that is that this is as impressive a gathering of basketball talent as you will ever see and so there is a lot of respect for everyone in the room. Part of it is these guys are media savvy and know better, they stick to their talking points.