Better late than never, the Liberty Ballers Community Big Board returns today. For those unfamiliar with how this works, we'll post a poll with a group of players and you vote on who should be ranked where. Voting on the top overall will commence today, but after that we'll be running two-a-days in order to make up for some lost time. Make sure to get your votes in early.
We'll throw Croatian youngster Dragan Bender, Kentucky's Jamal Murray and Providence's Kris Dunn in here for fun, but the competition for number one on the big board comes down to just two people: LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram. Both have a legitimate case as the top overall player.
The Australian native Simmons was the most highly touted high school recruit in many years, and lived up to the hype during his one season in Baton Rouge. He averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 56.0 percent from the field. Stats like that are unheard of, and if it wasn't for poor coaching and some shot happy teammates, I think Simmons probably could've done even more for LSU. His ability to handle the ball, find open teammates, and score at will makes him an offensive Swiss Army Knife. The question mark surrounding his effort seem to be a little trumped up, but what isn't are the shooting concerns. Even if the jump shot never comes around, he's versatile enough to be a really great offensive player without it. Giannis Antetokounmpo has helped pave the way for guys like that.
Ingram, who won't turn 19 until September, got better and better as the season went on. He averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds, and shot 41.0 percent from beyond the arc. His jump shot is silky smooth, and he can score from just about anywhere on the floor. He's definitely a more explosive athlete than Simmons is, but most of the concerns surrounding him seem to be about his frail frame. Ingram will undoubtedly add weight to it, but adjusting to the physicality of the NBA might take a little longer for him than Simmons. Regardless, he projects as a really talented two-way player who should have a long and prosperous career.
Make your case for either guy below.