Rejoice and be happy, the 76ers now hold the rights to the first overall pick. Sixers Nation can now relax, watching the NBA Lottery was maybe the most tense I have ever been while watching television. But now there is a multitude of questions and possibilities that must be explored.
The Philadelphia 76ers now have the first overall pick, it is now crunch time, the decision to take either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. The majority belief is that Ben Simmons is going to be the 1st overall pick and the most talented player in the draft. The 76ers desperately need both a ball-handler and a lights out shooter, now they must decide which of those needs is more important to address. Ben Simmons only shot 65 shots last season that were outside of the paint and only shot 3 three-pointers, Brandon Ingram shot more than 40% from three point range and hit 80 three point shots.
Ingram or Simmons
The Pros and Cons come down to a few points, which may seem small, but will end up being massively important in the long run. Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons are both between 6 ft. 9 in. and 6 ft. 10 in. making height essentially a non-factor. Much can be questioned about Ben Simmons decision making, in his choice to go to LSU which essentially kept him out of the Tournament this year. Brandon Ingram along with being a proven shooter has experienced the pressure of being in the tournament and having a national spot light. Last year Brandon Ingram was coached by arguably one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time in Coach K, while Ben Simmons was coached by Johnny Jones, a man who has never made it out of the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pros and Cons list heavily favors Brandon Ingram in this case, but I would be lying if I said that is all that matters. The issues I have listed are essentially issues that are shaken off with growth, meaning one or two seasons in the NBA will correct the majority of those issues. Ben Simmons has undeniable talent, undeniable potential, with ball handling and size, the only question is “Where is his ceiling?” Will Ben Simmons turn out like Lebron James? Will Ben Simmons end up like Andre Iguodala? The jury is still out on the decision between these two athletes, many people consider Ben Simmons the “Best Player Available” and many people consider Brandon Ingram the “Best Fit.” This is a pretty common issue to have to face during the draft, but history shows that you always take the Best Player Available.
Trades and Free Agency
The popular consensus is that the 76ers are far too unattractive of a situation to attract big name NBA Free Agents, but this is a notion that I disagree with. The 76ers are a filled with young talent, a ton of money, and excited fan base, and the Colangelo basketball connections; if the 76ers land one or two solid free agents then the General Manager has done their job. There is a plethora of talent available in free agency, if the 76ers could land one or two players like Mike Conley, Nicholas Batum, or Kent Bazemore then free agency was a success.
As for trade rumors, this is a team with many young big men who could thrive in many systems. Bryan Colangelo did not draft these players nor does he have any real connection to Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, or Dario Saric. Embiid and Saric are both on track to make their NBA Debut next season after years of oversea play and injury. This being said, all speculation here, but if anyone is shipped out of Philadelphia I believe it will be Jahlil Okafor. Nerlens Noel has suffered through years of losing and has longevity on the 76ers and has been consistent in work ethic as well as on court performance, we are yet to see what Joel Embiid or Dario Saric bring to the NBA making them hard to trade for something valuable. Jahlil Okafor on the other hand has NBA experience, promising stats, high potential, and could be traded for some very valuable pieces. Not saying that I would like Jahlil Okafor to be traded in any fashion, he is merely the most valuable piece in an NBA trade. There are brighter days in the 76ers future and a lot to look forward to.