With the NBA draft coming up Thursday night, The Chronicle's V.112 sports editor Amrith Ramkumar and writers Brian Pollack, Sameer Pandhare, Sam Turken and Hank Tucker discuss Brandon Ingram's possible destinations as well as Marshall Plumlee's pro prospects.

Cleveland.com reported Tuesday that the Philadelphia 76ers promised to take LSU forward Ben Simmons with the No. 1 selection, which would likely bump Ingram to the Lakers at No. 2. The two have been widely regarded as the top players in the draft for months—how does Ingram compare to Simmons as an NBA prospect both in the short term and long term?

Amrith Ramkumar: This is a difficult question to answer because Simmons looked uninterested at times playing at LSU and it's unclear how hard he will play early in his NBA career, but I think Ingram will be better in the short term and Simmons will be better long term. Ingram's perimeter shooting—he shot 41 percent from 3-point range on 195 attempts last season—gives him an immediate edge that should translate well to the next level, but once Simmons develops an outside shot, he should become one of the best players in the league long term.

The Australian's strength down low—he shot 56.0 percent and grabbed 11.8 rebounds per game—and passing ability are unique for a wiry 6-foot-10 player, and ultimately I think his game will be more complete than Ingram's. With that said, Ingram has a chance to develop into one of the best scorers in the league, and both should become All-Star caliber players if they continue improving.

Brian Pollack: To me, this question really boils down to how NBA teams feel Simmons can develop his jump shot. Currently, that’s the one gaping weakness in his game—and perhaps Ingram’s greatest short-term asset in the professional ranks—but if Simmons can hone his jumper in the next few years to the point where defenders have to respect it, then his long-term upside is tremendous. For Ingram, I think the biggest question is simply if he can take the physical pounding night in and night out at the next level. He packed on about 25 pounds before starting at Duke and will likely need to fill out more to make the most of his unique skill set.

Sameer Pandhare: In the short term, Ingram could actually be a far superior prospect due to his ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting. Although there are concerns about what position the former Blue Devil will play at the next level, Ingram is skilled and versatile enough to contribute all over the floor and even take over the game when needed. One of the overlooked areas Ingram excelled in at Duke was his ability to make smart passes, and I think that will carry over to the NBA. 

Unlike his single season as a Blue Devil, Ingram will likely see less of a workload out of the gates and have more time to develop early in the season. Ingram's long-term potential will be heavily swayed by his ability to grow into his body, but if he does so, the gap between him and Simmons may not be as drastic as many think. The advantage Simmons has in physicality and post play is balanced by Ingram's ability to score on drives to the basket and on the perimeter with a nearly impossible-to-contest shot.

Sam Turken: Although both Ingram and Simmons have the potential to be stars, they are completely different players. Ingram’s ability to shoot from the outside, create his own shot and use his 7-foot-3 wingspan to defend on the perimeter are tools that will make him more ready for the NBA and better in the short term. Ingram is also an underrated passer and has been praised for his work ethic and attitude on and off the court. That being said, there are questions about Ingram’s frail frame and explosiveness. But if he fills out more and becomes more explosive around the basket, I would not be surprised if Ingram becomes one of the best scorers in the league.

Simmons is more athletic, physically stronger, a better passer and probably has a higher ceiling. But his inability to shoot and willingness to play defense are concerns. I expect Simmons to rely on his athleticism to become a better defender, but it will be interesting to see how he develops as a shooter.

Hank Tucker: Perimeter shooting is an essential skill for a forward in today’s NBA, and Ingram is head and shoulders ahead of Simmons in this facet of the game, as everyone has already pointed out. Simmons took just three 3-point shots all year at LSU, making one, and it is impossible to tell whether he will be able to develop an outside shot at the NBA level. 

Ingram is more NBA-ready right away because of his ability to score from anywhere on the floor, and I also think Ingram has more potential for long-term success. If he adds some muscle mass to his slender frame, he could be strong enough and athletic enough to defend every position and develop a post game offensively. Simmons will be a good NBA starter with a long career, but I think Ingram will be a star. If the Philadelphia 76ers take Simmons first, they will regret it next year and they will really regret it 10 years down the line.

If Ingram does land with the Lakers as the second pick, will that destination be a better fit for him than Philadelphia would have been?

AR: For teams that combined to win 27 total games last year, it's hard to say one fit would be much better than the other, but the Lakers appear to have a more balanced roster. Los Angeles has a young core featuring two guards in D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson and forward Julius Randle. All three players scored more than 10 points per game last year and showed improvement toward the end of the season, and bringing in a new head coach in Golden State assistant Luke Walton should only inject more life into the franchise.

Philadelphia has three big men who were lottery picks on its roster, including former Duke star Jahlil Okafor, but the 76ers have little to be excited about in the backcourt, which will likely put a great deal of pressure on the No. 1 pick unless the team makes a trade in the offseason.

BP: I think the Lakers are a better fit for Ingram. The pressure of stepping under the bright lights of Los Angeles and into the shoes left by Kobe Bryant’s retirement would be substantial, but Ingram has never seemed fazed by outside expectations. He’d also have the opportunity to play with Russell, last year's No. 2 pick who flashed plenty of potential in his rookie season and would complement Ingram well from the backcourt. Philadelphia just doesn’t seem like an ideal match for someone with Ingram’s versatility—on a roster already saturated with big men, opponents could easily clog the paint and force him exclusively out to the perimeter.

SP: It's really hard to say because it has been difficult to get a read on the Lakers' rebuilding plan in the post-Kobe era. As currently constructed, Ingram fits well at the forward position beside Randle and along with the backcourt tandem of Clarkson and Russell. Although the nucleus is young, Ingram immediately stands to become the go-to scorer on the team and should benefit from playing under Walton, who comes from a Golden State team that moved the ball effortlessly throughout the season. 

But this could change depending on the team's plans in free-agency with the Lakers rumored to have an outside shot at Kevin Durant, among others. Considering the 76ers are in the middle of a management change and still lack a floor general to run a team stacked with post players, Philadelphia doesn't seem to be the best fit for Ingram, even if it would be cool to see him on the court with Okafor.

ST: I think the Lakers are a better fit for Ingram. If Ingram goes to Philadelphia, he’d have to become a primary ball hander and perimeter scorer due to the Sixers’ lack of playmakers along the wing. Having to run an offense and carry a heavy scoring load as a young rookie or second-year player may stunt his development and ultimately hurt his confidence. But, if he goes to Los Angeles, the Lakers’ young corps of guards including Russell and Clarkson will help spread the floor and take some of the load off Ingram.

HT: Ingram is a much better fit for the Lakers, a franchise that has a far brighter immediate future than Philadelphia. Russell had an up-and-down rookie season at point guard but should continue to develop into a dynamic facilitator, and Clarkson is another young guard on the rise that would help spread the floor alongside Ingram on the wing. The 76ers have plenty of rebounders but no athletic guards on Russell’s level that can space the floor. Ingram would have the ball in his hands on the perimeter a lot in Philadelphia, but opposing defenses would be able to collapse on him when he drives, and he has not demonstrated the passing prowess yet to be able to create well in traffic.

Marshall Plumlee has worked out with a few teams during the last couple of weeks. What are his chances of getting drafted or making an NBA roster next year as an undrafted free agent?

AR: Plumlee's chances of getting drafted or making an NBA roster next year are almost zero, but the 7-footer could eventually work his way up through the NBA Summer League and D-League like former teammate Seth Curry has with the Sacramento Kings. Plumlee has tried to showcase his ball handling and jump shot since leaving Duke, but will likely have to show he can be an offensive threat in the D-League before an NBA team takes a chance on the Warsaw, Ind., native. The good news for Plumlee is that older brothers Mason and Miles were also not considered exceptional pro prospects and have both carved out stable NBA roles since leaving Durham.

BP: Plumlee doesn’t possess a lot of NBA upside in terms of raw talent or tools he could further refine, so I find it hard to see a team using a draft pick on him this week. Quinn Cook found himself in a similar situation last year—coming off a strong senior year, but without the traditional NBA skillset—and despite being named the D-League’s Rookie of the Year, he never made it up with the Cavaliers. I’d have to imagine Plumlee will be forced to go a similar route if he wants to become the third Plumlee brother in the NBA.

SP: The thing Marshall Plumlee has going for him could be the breakout season his brother Mason had for the Trail Blazers this season. That being said, Marshall Plumlee's lack of post moves and propensity to hang in the paint will likely dissuade teams from spending a draft pick on him. Perhaps Plumlee's biggest weakness could be his inability to stay with guards when switching on the pick and roll—a skill that has become highly valued after watching this year's NBA Finals. With all this in mind, it's likely that the big man's only avenue to the NBA is as an undrafted free agent.

ST: Although he improved during his senior year, increasing his scoring output to 8.3 points per game, I don’t see Marshall Plumlee being drafted or making an NBA roster. Unlike his brothers Mason and Miles, Plumlee has not displayed enough athleticism to make up for his limited offensive game. However, there is a chance that he could attract attention from NBA teams if he is successful in the D-League.

HT: Plumlee is seven feet tall and can jump fairly well, which might be good enough for a team to take a flier on him and invite him to training camp. But he is not as mobile as he needs to be play in the NBA right now, and he would have a hard time staying in front of other pro centers on defense without fouling. Much of his offense last year at Duke came when a teammate drew the defense away with a strong drive into the paint and he could receive a pass right next to the basket and throw down a powerful dunk against a weaker defender. That won’t work as well in the NBA, where most of Plumlee’s opponents would be as strong as him, and he will have to learn to score in other ways if he has aspirations of playing at the highest level.