Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram were the top two picks in the NBA draft and look to have bright futures in the NBA. Ben Simmons is a 6-10 forward from LSU with an incredibly versatile skill set. Brandon Ingram is a 6-8 forward from Duke with great length and an above average outside shot. We took a look at FiveThirtyEight.com's Career-Arc Regression Model Estimator with Local Optimization, otherwise known as the CARMELO NBA Player Projections, to see which current NBA players are most comparable to Simmons and Ingram, and you will definitely be surprised.
First for Ben Simmons, FiveThiryEight has him ranked (unsurprisingly) as a great prospect. He has one of the highest expected Wins Above Replacement of any of the rookies, but his current NBA comparisons may surprise you.
Simmons size parallels him with some of the big men listed, but his ability to handle the ball and play in transition make him a very tough comparison. Even his highest comparison isn't a great fit speaking volumes to the one of a kind of player Ben Simmons is.
Brandon Ingram is also touted as a great prospect, according to FiveThiryEight, but his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) Projection is significantly lower than Ben Simmons. However, FiveThirtyEight drew much stronger comparisons to Ingram.
Not bad company for the former Duke forward. It is also worth nothing that FiveThirtyEight's Carmelo Projections found seven players who had a higher similarity rating to Brandon Ingram than ANY player in the NBA to Ben Simmons.
Both forwards will surely make an impact with their respective NBA squads.