Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014 Draft Scouting: Damien Inglis

The sting of the Pistons losing their pick due to the Cavs, of all teams, jumping in the draft lottery still hasn't worn off, but nonetheless it's time to start scouting 2nd round prospects who may pique Stan Van Gundy's interest, assuming Detroit stands pat at 38.  One prospect with the upside to dull the pain of losing this year's first round pick is SF Damien Inglis.  Inglis is projected to go 39th in Jonathan Givony's mock draft for DraftExpress.com, but he's far from a lock to be around when the Pistons pick.  His blend of elite size, athleticism and professional experience in France's highest level of pro ball may price him out of the Pistons' reach.  If he is still there when the Pistons make their first pick, Inglis deserves strong consideration to be their pick.

The thing that stands out the most about Inglis at this point in his career is his pyhsical stature.  At the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit, Inglis measured in at 6'8, 240 lbs with a 7'3 wingspan and massive hands.  At only 19 years old, Inglis' body is well beyond the development of most players his age, which could make him a candidate for early playing time wherever he lands.  Despite being so big and young, Inglis maintains superb athleticism and an adequate skill level that allows him to play on the perimeter.  In his most recent season for Roanne in France's ProA League, Inglis averaged 4.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.0 APG and shot 38.7% from behind the arc.  Those numbers don't necessarily jump off of the screen, but should be seen as impressive for an 18 year old playing at the highest level his country has to offer.  Let's take a deeper look at what makes Inglis intriguing, and some of the reasons he might still be there when the Pistons pick.

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DAMIEN INGLIS - SF - FRANCE, 1995 - 6'8, 240

This highlight compilation from Inglis' showing at this year's Hoop Summit shows the skill level, size and athleticism that will make him an NBA player.  He isn't a highly skilled ball-handler, but is good enough to complement his size and length in order to get to the hoop.  Once he's there, his 7'3 wingspan and big frame come into play.  He has no trouble finishing in traffic, whether it be at the rim or using the glass against a defender.  He also displays an ability to hit shots off the dribble, although it isn't a sure thing that he'll be able to create looks for himself off the bounce in the NBA.  Inglis will likely do most of his damage early in his career out in the open floor.  His superior athleticism and length should create turnover opportunities allowing him to get out for fast break buckets.  Similarly, he should be a strong defender from day one due to his physical assets.  While most rookies struggle on defense, Inglis could earn his floor time with his play on the defensive end.

While Inglis shot the ball fairly well from the perimeter playing professionally this past season, there are still some questions about his jump shot.  Scouts say he struggled at the Hoop Summit to convert open looks, and although he looked good from a mechanics standpoint, he is seen as still developing his ability to shoot the ball.  Another question about Inglis is his ability to function within a half-court offense.  His ball-handling is still somewhat crude, he isn't a knockdown spot-up shooter and is an average post-up player.  Developing his post-up game may be the best chance Inglis has at becoming a reliable half-court scoring option.  If not, he needs to learn how to catch and shoot in spot-up situations.  Inglis may develop to be average in enough facets at the offensive end of the floor that he's not a liability on offense.

If Inglis is still around at pick #38, he would be my first choice, assuming none of the sure-fire first round picks are still on the board.  While he may still need to develop and fine-tune some aspects of his offensive game, his size, length and athleticism cannot be taught.  While Inglis won't be a solution for the Pistons needs at SF this year, he has the long-term upside of a starting NBA SF.  With the addition of the one-to-one D-League affiliate in Grand Rapids, the Pistons would have the luxury of getting Inglis minutes when needed and keeping him on the bench if he proves worthy.  He may not be Doug McDermott or Nik Stauskas, but Damien Inglis might be the best consolation prize the Pistons could get.

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