Let me first preface this article by saying I am thrilled that the 76ers ended up getting the number one pick in the 2016 draft. I’m excited to see Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons in a Sixers uniform, even though I’m not as sold on Simmons as I use to be.
But as fans, it's only natural that some have different hopes and scenarios for their team, or they are always coming up with faux ideas and trades in a way to figure out what their team needs, even it goes against the normal consensus of national media or even said fan base itself, and even myself personally hoped for a better scenario (obviously this hope included getting the Lakers lottery pick to fall to us) then what the ping pong balls determined on Tuesday evening.
Ben Simmons or BUST! At least that’s what I was saying as a Sixer fan at the start of the College Basketball season back in November, but as the season went along, and as I was watching more and more LSU games, Simmons started feeling like the 1500th Marvel Movie that’s coming out. Yeah, you get hyped for the previews and the YouTube clips but when the actual film starts, you start to question “was this really what I was excited for? It’s good, but something is missing.” “Does he really fit the future plans?” The fact that Simmons also hilariously mocked the NCAA system, failed to reach the 2.0 GPA requirement (putting the LSU program in trouble), failed to get his team to the Tournament, and didn’t want to shoot like there was a minefield everywhere outside of 15 feet, he started to lose his mystique that he had back in the Fall.
Of course there is nothing wrong with going best player available in the NBA draft, which I still think Simmons holds that position, just not by the wide margin we all thought at the start of the season. You can actually make a case that Brandon Ingram could go first overall in the draft.
While many have touted this draft class as weak or top heavy (something I’ve certainly done) I ended up liking a few of the guards in this draft class, like Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, and obviously Buddy Hield. With a team like the 76ers, whose best guards over the last three years were easily Michael Carter-Williams and Ish Smith, I was hoping the 76ers would consider going perimeter orientated in this draft, even if Simmons is still considered the best prospect.
There is a lot to be said about players who stay more than a year in college, they mature more, they grow into their bodies more effectively as appose to an 18-19 year old one-and-done that’s still developing their anatomy. One and done players that have the eye popping athleticism of an Andrew Wiggins, or the developed game of a Karl Anthony-Towns or Anthony Davis, are far and few in between. However when you look at guards like Damian Lillard, who came into the league at 22 years of age or CJ McCollum, who spent three years at Lehigh, it might have been a good idea for the 76ers to go with more NBA-ready (relatively speaking) players like Buddy Heild, or Kris Dunn, who each spent four years in college. All of this of course depneding on if the Lakers pick actually fell to us at the number 4 spot (which my tin foil hat says the NBA wouldn’t let this happen).
The NBA is shifting more towards perimeter, spacing, shooting and versatility, so think about if the Sixers had the Number 1 AND the Number 4 pick. Yes they could use their Number 1 pick to take Ben Simmons who is versatile, but if they ended up with the Lakers pick, I think they could have created their back-court for the future drafting Hield and Dunn or using the number one pick to take Ingram and then take either one of those guards with the Laker pick granted teams passed on them.
I went into Tuesday night with the expectation that the 76ers wouldn’t get the Lakers pick anyway, so being able to land the number 1 pick anyway was obviously the best case scenario, but being a Sixer fan and a general Hoop nerd, I naturally came up with my own thoughts on how the team should draft if we had the extra lottery pick. Now, the Front Office has to decide whether to build around Simmons, the player best player in the draft with a high ceiling, or draft Ingram based on his scoring potential and the practicality of the roster. However with multiple reports from media outlets far more connected to the team suggesting that the Sixers are heavily favoring drafting Simmons, a new question arises: How long will it take before one of Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Dario Saric (The 2014 pick who is coming from oversees this year) gets traded to unclog the log jam of big men on the roster? I say it most likely happens during the draft on June 23rd or shortly after, and Okafor is the most likely candidate to be shipped out, now that the Sixers will probably be able to see what Embiid can do next season, albeit in limited minutes.
Either way Sam Hinkie’s sacrifice was not in vain, and I’m still ecstatic with Tuesday night's outcome.