Damien Inglis, 6-foot-8 small forward, France
2013-14 stats: 4.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 49.5 FG%, 38.7 3FG%
Less of a high-profile prospect than some of his fellow international draft candidates, Inglis’ game and skill set could potentially translate very well to the NBA, as he possesses the physique, athleticism and versatility of a prototype small forward. The Frenchman and his representatives would prefer that the development of his game continues in the U.S. and since experience seems to be the biggest thing Inglis is missing, he’s an interesting case. His upside alone makes him a worthy gamble, though patience might be the key ingredient for Inglis’ long-term potential.
Career highlights: The 19-year-old, who is originally from French Guyana, has been competing against professionals for some time now, first excelling in lower-division French basketball before advancing to France’s highest level this past season. Inglis was in the rotation for Chorale de Roanne, but playing alongside established overseas veterans, including several former American college stars, he wasn’t one of the team’s focal points, averaging 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, though he had his moments during the campaign. A standout for France’s under-16, under-17 and under-18 national teams in the last three FIBA age-group tournaments, Inglis also played in the Nike Hoop Summit all-star game this past spring and while he didn’t have a huge outing, his practices leading up to the event impressed NBA personnel in attendance.
[NBA DRAFT: Complete list of 2014 prospect profiles]
Strengths: Still just a teenager, Inglis has a chiseled, NBA-ready physique, outstanding length, good athleticism and a wide array of intriguing skills. Capable of defending multiple positions due to his strength and lateral quickness, he can rebound like a big man and stay in front of wings on the perimeter. Offensively, Inglis actually functions best with the ball in his hands, playing like a point forward when he pushes the ball off the defensive glass and making plays for his teammates or attacking the basket, as well as running the floor and finishing in transition.
Weaknesses: While Inglis did get fairly consistent playing time in France’s top league, he wasn’t a starter or a featured option, putting up middling statistics, even if he did gain valuable experience against older competition. Not a terrible outside shooter, he isn’t exactly proficient from long range and as strong as he is, he’s not an elite-level athlete. In fact, that’s the case for Inglis in general, as he does a lot of things decently, but nothing, besides his frame and versatility, stands out as his calling card at this stage of his development.
Draft projection: A second-round prospect, the fact that Inglis is bilingual and speaks English well is an encouraging sign for his impending transition, especially because his representatives would prefer that an NBA team keeps him in the league, as opposed to keeping him Europe, likely a reason he kept his name in the draft. Although it wouldn’t be surprising for him to log some time in the D-League early in his career, Inglis’ defensive potential and versatility could get him on the floor. In the long run, Inglis has a high ceiling and whether or not he eventually emerges as a ballhandling, slashing, playmaking, two-way threat his skill set suggests he’s capable of developing into, he should at least become a viable rotation player as a defensive-minded wing with the ability to play with the ball in his hands on the other end of the court.