THE FIRST BEN SIMMONS/BRANDON INGRAM MATCH-UP WAS MORE PREVIEW THAN MAIN EVENT

Title: THE FIRST BEN SIMMONS/BRANDON INGRAM MATCH-UP WAS MORE PREVIEW THAN MAIN EVENT
Date: July 11, 2016
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: I wrote about the first ever meeting between No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram, an underwhelming but illuminating Summer League showdown.

At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, while the more liberally tattooed pockets of Las Vegas were getting keyed up in anticipation of UFC 200, a serious buzz had gathered during a 12-minute cab ride down East Tropicana Avenue to the Thomas & Mack Center. Unlike UFC 200, the main event at Thomas & Mack would not to be pulled from the card on short notice, and though a one-on-one battle in this context isn’t quite individual pugilism, the marquee was easy to sell. It was not so much about a game between the NBA Summer League teams of the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers than it was about Ben Simmons against Brandon Ingram, the top two picks from the 2016 NBA Draft, going toe-to-toe for the first time.

It was all the more intriguing because of how the Sixers and Lakers landed their respective saviors. Simmons is the final culmination of Philadelphia’s much-debated Process, a full-frontal, multi-year bottoming-out project overseen by a GM who lost his job because of how committed he was to it. The Lakers, on the other hand, have been failing less of their own volition, but now find themselves with Ingram at the top of an impressive asset pile to begin the post-Mamba era. This summer league team belongs to last year’s NBA Draft prize, D’Angelo Russell, as he’d assert later on, but Ingram is just as important long-term. If Sam Hinkie died for Simmons, Kobe killed for Ingram.

Continue reading at Vice.

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