Australian Ben Simmons' NBA draft stock drops as Brandon Ingram's star rises

Australia's Ben Simmons appears to have lost his favouritism among US experts to be the top pick in this year's NBA draft.

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Duke University's 18-year-old small forward Brandon Ingram has leapfrogged Melbourne-born Simmons on some of America's top mock draft boards.

Simmons, aged 19, has come under scrutiny after he failed to lead Louisiana State University to an invite to this week's 68-team end-of-season NCAA Tournament.

Simmons is set to go No.1 in the NBA draft.
Simmons is set to go No.1 in the NBA draft. Photo: Getty Images

His 19 points on 56 per cent shooting, 12 rebounds and five assists per game for the LSU Tigers are impressive and his supporters credit Simmons as the driving force that kept his team competitive.

However, it has been reported some NBA executives believe Simmons' numbers are "hollow" and questions have also been raised about his apparent refusal to shoot jump shots.


Former New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy told ESPN's Los Angeles radio station he wants to see more from the player who showed tremendous promise as an Aussie Rules player.

"He has to play with a little bit more fire," said Van Gundy.

DraftExpress has Ingram ranked first on its mock draft, with Simmons slipping to second.

Yahoo!'s The Vertical's mock draft has followed suit.

"In the minds of many, Ingram has surpassed Simmons," The Vertical's Jonathan Givony wrote.

ESPN's influential Chad Ford still has Simmons as his number one, with Ingram two, but he noted scouts and reporters who cover draft prospects have their doubts.

"As Ben Simmons walked off the court Saturday after LSU's embarrassing 71-38 loss at the hands of Texas A&M, a question came to mind for many of us who scout and cover draft prospects," Ford wrote.

The NBA Draft Lottery will be held on May 17 and the Draft is scheduled for June 23.

With wires