The Philadelphia 76ers have the number 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and no one is sure who will be chosen with the coveted pick. However, the general consensus is either Ben Simmons of LSU or Brandon Ingram of Duke. Rumors have the 76ers leaning more toward the 6’10” Simmons. With all of the factors regarding both Simmons and the 76ers, how good of a fit are they together?
Let’s take a look at the Australian point forward.
Simmons is absolutely physically ready for pro ball at 6’10” and 240 lbs, and despite his relatively short wingspan (6’11”), he has excellent quickness and body control to excel against large pro bigs. This also allows for him to run the fast break with the best of them, and what has helped him average over 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists. He does have some off-court issues, as well as questions about whether or not his commitment to reaching his full potential is high, but that does not overshadow his potential in the pros.
Simmons is deadly around the basket, using his acrobatic abilities and quickness at midrange to finish around the rim. However in half-court situations where things might get a little more physical, he has issues finishing (55% FG in those situations). His biggest flaw, one that cannot be stressed enough in this up tempo day and age, is his dreadful 3-point shooting. In the 74 games he has appeared in since the 2012 FIBA U-17 Championships, he has been 12-50 (24%) from behind the arc. With the development of the stretch-four, the lack of spacing might hurt him depending on who he lands with.
Now let’s take a look at how he fits with the Sixers.
His talent and potential are sky-high, making him a good addition to almost any team. However, Philly’s logjam in the front court might provide some problems. The Philly bigs (Noel, Okafor, Embiid, Saric, and Landry) while talented in their own right, do not provide a whole lot of spacing and adding Simmons would only make that worse. Considering the 76ers shot around 32% from behind the arc, Simmons would only make things worse in a league where having a stretch-four is almost a necessity.
Simmons could be very valuable as an insurance policy for Philly. Joel Embiid has been injured for the past two seasons, and while he is supposedly at almost 100%, he is not a solid bet to stay healthy. Dario Saric has yet to come over since being drafted two seasons ago, and it has yet to be seen how much his game will translate from Euro-ball. Simmons would be a good insurance policy if one or both of those players were not able to play.
The 76ers have many reasons to draft the freshman out of LSU, but they have just as many reasons to not draft him. He the potential to be a top-quality big man in the future, except that is one thing Philly has plenty of. Philly should look to improve their wing players and 3-point shooting by drafting a player like Brandon Ingram. I believe Simmons’ talent will take him places, it just probably should not be with the 76ers.