If Johnny O’Bryant was a relative mystery to Milwaukee Bucks fans on draft night as a three-year college player from one of the nation’s most prominent college conferences, then the selection of Damien Inglis may as well have been the Bucks making up a name and running with it. To those not in the know, he wasn’t even a foreign player who had become a trendy draft and stash guy. He was a total unknown. And that was disappointing.
I was once like you, if you’re one of the Bucks fans that could have been described by that last paragraph. Here’s a true story: When I saw Adrian Wojnarowski tweet out Milwaukee’s upcoming selection of Inglis, I told my friends the Bucks were going with an Australian guy. I hadn’t done any research on Inglis and got him confused with 26-year-old Australian forward Joe Ingles. I DON’T PREPARE VERY WELL FOR THE NBA DRAFT.
There are too many players that could be selected in the second round and it’s too hard to learn about each of them. I will not apologize for my ignorance. But I will feel shame for it. I can wear that. I’ll own it.
I’m willing to come forward with that embarrassing story because most of my Friday night after the draft saw me immersed in INGLIS research.
He shares height and length measurements with notable longmen Kawhi Leonard and Rudy Gay, with all three of them in the measuring pre-draft around the height of 6-foot-8 with wingspans of 7-foot-3 (!). That’s encouraging. Except Inglis is also built like a rock monster who’s been eating nothing but chicken jerkey and almond butter for the past 10 years. While Leonard and Gay had what were seen as NBA-ready bodies around 225 pounds, Inglis is already 240 pounds and he looks like he might be capable of scaring the fat right off of his body.
Seriously, look at this guy. The width of his chest is practically the length of my body.
As you’d expect of X-Men’s Colossus transformed into a basketball player, he’s traditionally been a strong rebounder, if Draft Express is to be believed, and it typically is.
Inglis ranked as the second best rebounding small forward in the entire French league despite his youth, hauling down 9.5 boards per-40, something he’s done in every setting he’s played, which makes it likely to translate to the NBA level as well in some capacity.
Aside from that DX also raves about his passing skills and general feel for the game. Overall, the write-up has a very Giannis Antetokounmpo feel to it, though without the raves for explosive athleticism. It sounds like Inglis is a solid athlete, but not with the speed and leaping ability of Giannis. But not many guys can be the athlete Giannis is, and where Inglis lacks there, he seems to more than make up for in NBA type strength.
Milwaukee’s most recent strong rebounding, sound passing small forward was Mike Dunleavy, though Inglis seems to project as a much different type of offensive player. Dunleavy was prominently involved in offensive sets, often coming off screens and pin downs for catch and shoot jumpers. Inglis seems more of a secondary offensive option. He shot nearly 40% on threes last season, but Draft Express indicates his mechanics are still inconsistent, slow and in need of some work.
His release is fairly slow, and his touch leaves something to be desired, which is an issue in today’s NBA which revolves so heavily around perimeter spacing. Inglis’ ability to become a legitimate threat with his feet set from NBA range is likely the biggest key to him becoming a valuable contributor.
So he’s not a finished product. No 19-year-old to ever enter the NBA has been. What’s intriguing to the Bucks is his room for growth and sound base of overall skills. The opportunity to get a guy like that in the second round was apparently too much for John Hammond to pass on.
“He’s got an overall good skill set – good ballhandler, good passer,” Hammond said on draft night. “And he’s going to continue to work on his shooting. His shot isn’t bad now, but he’s going to continue to work on that. Another good young piece and hopefully another guy who can play multiple positions.”
The Bucks are quickly becoming a very 21st century team, full of guys who are eager to move the ball and can play multiple positions on both offense and defense. Inglis fits well from that angle. And he truly seems like a true “tweener” though I mean that in the best way. His ability to read the court and react as a passer sounds like it gets him into some turnover problems at times, but that’s true of most young players who are looking to make plays. That’s a trait common among perimeter players. But his size is that of a modern day power forward. If he really can guard perimeter players and be that muscular and have an upper level understanding of how to move the ball on offense, that’s a helluva combination.
Furthermore, Hammond thinks another year would have done wonders for Inglis’s draft stock.
#Bucks GM John Hammond feels Damien Inglis would have been a top 15 pick in next year’s draft had he not come out this year.
— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) June 27, 2014
So maybe ease up on the disappointment for now. And temper your most immediate expectations, because a foot injury will keep him out of summer league, according to Charles Gardner. Obviously, when the Bucks were fairly inactive after the second pick on draft night I felt it as much as anyone. But the players they did end up with are not without hope. Drafts cannot be graded in a day or even a year. Sometimes a guy full of potential ends up the way of Marcus Haislip. Other times, Michael Redd. We won’t know for a few years where the likes of Inglis and O’Bryant will fall.
But at the very least, with Inglis, the Bucks made a sound process pick. They grabbed a guy whose stock was on the rise and will have his rights at a rate probably below their worth. In the NBA, that’s the best a team can do.