By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — I once bought a waffle maker for twenty dollars. Why? Because I had a waffle the day before and it looked cool. I never used it.
We’re all prisoners of the moment sometimes and watching Stephen Curry and the NBA three-point shooting boom has created a Ben Simmons-Brandon Ingram debate.
There’s no debate.
Ben Simmons is the first college basketball player to average 19 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists per game since Ron Harper did it in 1986. Harper did it as a senior at Miami Ohio, while Simmons accomplished the feat amid a frustrating and chaotic freshman season at LSU.
Andrew Porter defends Ben Simmons on 94WIP (March 19th, 2016):
Simmons is a 6-10, 240-pound wing player with a 6-11 wingspan, who can see the floor, pass and ball handle with either hand. Basically, he has power forward athletic abilities with the ball skills of a point guard. That doesn’t come around often. That’s special.
There are two major knocks on Simmons right now: Shooting and personality.
Simmons needs to improve his jump shot — there’s no doubt about that — something that is certainly possible for a 19-year-old kid. Still, “without a jump shot” as the critics say, Simmons shot 56-percent from the field (granted on mostly dunks and layups) and 67-percent from the line (199-297) during his only college season en route to 19 points per game on a bad team.
As for his personality, well that became a concern as his freshman year progressed and his team continued to struggle. Eventually, Simmons and LSU missed the NCAA Tourney and the same qualitative “lack of killer instinct” claims, which many criticized Andrew Wiggins for, started popping up.
According to NBADraft.net Simmons’ “attitude/character is by all accounts one of his greatest assets, as he is praised by many for being ‘a better person than player.'”
Ingram is a 6-9, 195-pound wing player with a 7-3 wingspan. Ingram, often compared to Kevin Durant, is a better pure shooter and scorer than Simmons. He shot 44.2-percent from the field, 41-percent from three, and 68-percent from the line (116-170) during his freshman season at Duke. That’s about it, though.
But in 2016, shooting has become everything.
Not that I think Simmons will ever reach LeBron James’ status, or Ingram would reach Durant’s, but skill-set wise the comparison is actually similar. So, who would you rather have: LeBron or KD?
If Simmons went to Duke and Ingram went to LSU, this debate probably wouldn’t exist. Sure, Ingram is the better shooter, but I’ll take the special talent every single time.