All indications are that the 2016 NBA Draft is a two-man race between LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram. The Philadelphia 76ers hold the top overall pick, and there’s been persistent talk that Simmons and his reps are angling to land with the Lakers, who hold the second pick.
The Sixers apparently don’t care. Derek Bodner of Philly Magazine reports that new Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo is prepared to select Simmons on June 23.
As I reported over the weekend, multiple sources with knowledge of the Sixers’ thought process say it is LSU forward Ben Simmons who Colangleo is leaning toward selecting first overall in June 23rd’s NBA draft.
While it would be too early to say with certainty that Simmons will be the Sixers’ selection in just over three weeks, it appears it would take something substantial, and unexpected, to shift the Sixers off of their current thought process.
Ironically, if Colangelo does indeed take Simmons, it would be the most Sam Hinkie move possible — take the most talented prospect with the highest upside, regardless of fit. Unless he develops a jump shot, Simmons is likely an NBA power forward, meaning the Sixers would have to move at least one of the four big men they’ve already taken with their lottery picks in the past three drafts: Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric (who is expected to join the team from overseas next season) and Jahlil Okafor.
But he’s been the projected No. 1 pick for over a year, and it sounds like when push comes to shove, even though there’s new management in charge, the Sixers aren’t going to deviate from that.