Damien Roberto Inglis has reached the NBA and probably most everything with that 7-3 wingspan.
Despite a relatively low profile before the draft, Inglis was not a reach at #31, though, if I may continue with this theme for just another sentence. Inglis, in fact, ranked #26 on the Draft Express prospect rankings, ahead of more familiar state-side names like Shabazz Napier and Zach LaVine.
The French Guiana native (he will join Kevin Seraphin as the second NBA player to hail from the French region) earns praise for his rebounding, his passing, his atypically developed body for a 19-year-old, and perhaps most of all, his defense.
When you think about those areas of strength, and his size (6-9 and 240), perhaps a few players come to mind. Billy McKinney (Director of Scouting for the Bucks) provided an intriguing player comparison. Before we get to that, here are some of the most cheerful parts of a Draft Express bio of Inglis.
He is not so polished yet as a shooter or scorer, but he hit a respectable 38.7 percent on threes (on a low volume) last season while playing for Chorale Roanne Basket in the top French league, so there is something to work with there.
Inglis missed Summer League with a broken foot, but he has time to get better. And he will get better, as the new youngest player on the team, two months younger than Parker and five months younger than Giannis.
Here are some excerpts from my recent chat with McKinney about Inglis.
Where did you have him on your big board?
We had him in the 28 to 36 range. We knew if he was there at 31 that we would take him.
Were you able to watch Inglis in person before the draft? Did anyone else on staff watch him in person? How did you scout him?
In person. Dave Babcock (vice president of player personnel) saw him overseas. And then he played in the Nike Hoops Summit, so I was there (with John Hammond and David Morway) the entire week, watching him practice and then play in the games. We had the entire week to watch his practice habits and see all of the things he was able to do.
He is another guy that can play multiple positions on offense and defense. When we looked at him, we kind of compared him, with his build and his size, to a Ron Artest. He’s very skilled. He can handle the ball, make plays off the dribble, shoot the ball, defend multiple positions. He rebounds the ball well, and is a pretty darn good athlete.
Artest was always considered a great defensive player. Do you see Inglis having potential to be an impact defensive player?
Absolutely. He has the size for it, the coordination. He can play solid on-the-ball defense and also get in passing lanes to get deflections and get the steal.
Like Parker, he is just 19 years old. Inglis is described by some as a project and by others as nearly NBA-ready. How much do you feel he will be able to contribute as a rookie?
First of all, he has to get 100% healthy. He has the foot injury and should be ready to go by training camp. Then he is going to have to work himself back into shape after this layoff. We will be able to evaluate in the preseason how much time he will be able to earn on the court this season. He is a young player, and he fits into our really nice core of young guys who have excellent skill sets.
You mentioned he could play and guard multiple positions. Is he another guy who does not necessarily have a specific ideal position at this time?
Right. He can play the two on offense and defense. He can play small forward. And if we are playing a smaller lineup, he could probably even play some four. So he is pretty versatile.