The process worked. Sam Hinkie is gone, but the process landed the Philadelphia 76ers the top spot in the NBA Draft. It leaves the new brain trust with one question:
Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram?
Reports are the Sixers are leaning Simmons. He’s the player with the higher ceiling. And if you’re looking for more proof of how much the Sixers like him, look at what Sixers coach Brett Brown said about Simmons on Fox Sports (via ESPN).
“He’s got a hint of Magic, and at times you can see a younger LeBron where you are not sure what position he is,” Brown told Fox Sports. “One moment you think he is a 4, maybe he is a 3, he looks comfortable handling the ball.
“When you say, ‘What is his identifiable elite NBA skill?’ most people will go immediately to passing.
“When you take that collection of comments, and you add it into a 6-foot-10 frame, the comparison to those two players could be a little reckless and ambitious, but there is no denying he really does come to the draft with a very unique skill package.”
I wish coaches/scouts/media would stop comparing players to Magic and LeBron James and other all-time greats. That’s an unfair burden for a player multiple scouts told me likely is more peak Lamar Odom than either of those two.
The question with Simmons is not the potential, rather it is things like his broken jump shot and, more importantly, his willingness to put in the years of work to fix it. He’s not seen as an internally driven guy, but that can be hard to judge in a 19-year-old.
Officially, the Sixers are still looking into which player to take.
“We’ve got extensive research done on Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons, and we will do more, and we will bring in both for workouts,” Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo told NBC right after the Draft Lottery. “We also interviewed Ingram in Chicago where he participated in some events,” Colangelo said. “We’ve got a lot of observations of who they are as basketball players, but we want to get to know them as people.”
That’s the official line, but when you see comment’s such as Brown’s, it’s clear where the Sixers hearts lie.