The end of the NBA's regular season is still just over a month away but that doesn't stop analysts from keeping up with the standings as the season draws to a close. ESPN's Chad Ford released his mock draft 4.0 for the 2016 class, pegging Duke's Brandon Ingram to the Los Angeles Lakers with the second-overall pick of the draft. Ben Simmons remains the top pick, heading to the Philadelphia 76ers, with Dragan Bender going to the Phoenix Suns to round out the top three selections.
Ingram would fill an immediate void at small forward for the Lakers, something our very own Ben Rosales laid out when he examined a few different scenarios that could play out should the franchise retain their pick. The standout Blue Devil is averaging 17 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 40.6 percent from deep, an appealing stat line for a Lakers squad that desperately needs a long-term solution in the wings.
A quick glance at Ingram's shot chart, via Shot Analytics, is a pretty good indicator of his outside shooting prowess:
Here's what Ford had to say about Ingram, via ESPN (Insider):
Ingram's elite talent -- as well as his fit on a Lakers roster that could really use an upgrade at the 3 --would make this a home run pick for the Lakers.
If D'Angelo Russell continues to improve, they'd have two dynamic scorers to build around.
Ingram seems like the obvious choice for the Lakers if they land the No. 2 pick and Simmons is off the board, but as we witnessed last summer, these decisions come down to the wire. Jahlil Okafor seemed like he was destined for the Lakers once they locked in the second-overall pick, but D'Angelo Russell was the name called as reports trickled in late that Los Angeles was set to take a shot at a franchise point guard.
The draft lottery is May 17, so it's far too early to make serious projections about who's going where just yet. Still, it's interesting to keep track of in the meantime.