The Sixers have a critical decision to make in just over a month, when they face a June 23 deadline to submit the name of their first overall draft pick to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The choice is between LSU's Ben Simmons and Duke's Brandon Ingram. There are pros and cons for each player, but when it comes down to it, the flaws Simmons has fall short of his superstar potential. Here are five of the most important reasons for Philly to make Simmons the next face of their franchise:
1. His athleticism
Simmons is a beast. He is 6-foot-10 and weighs 240 pounds — and can really play any position on the floor. By no means is anyone saying Simmons is the next LeBron James, but that's the style of player he is. He can get to the basket and create offense off the dribble. And even though he has — as many scouts complain — no jump shot, it is not unheard of for an elite talent to learn to shoot. Look at Michael Jordan later in his career.
2. His potential
Simmons has the passing and ball handling skills to play point guard, and is also an excellent rebounder. The only thing he lacks is a jump shot. But he still found a way to average more than 19 points per game in the SEC (though he has received criticism for his team's inability to make the postseason). He also averaged nearly 12 rebounds and more than four assists per game, a remarkable stat sheet for a college athlete.
3. Ingram is more of the same
The Sixers are looking to redefine the way things are done in the NBA. Heck, they already have by running the most elaborate tank in pro sports history. Why would they want to draft another 3-point shooter (like Ingram)? The NBA has become an outside shooting league, but that doesn't mean it will remain so. With all the size and talent on the Sixers roster already, an inside-dominated approach (look at DeMarcus Cousins, LeMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis) could be necessary to compete for NBA titles in the future.
4. The Aussie connection
Simmons was born and raised in Australia, which happens to be where David T. Martin, one of the world's top sports-science leaders got his start. He currently serves as 76ers director of performance research and development. Brett Brown coached Simmons’ father, Dave, when he played for the Melbourne Tigers. The Sixers will have an inside track to learn the truth about Simmons' character, and perhaps dispel rumors that he has issues that would be a red flag in the NBA.
5. Sources suggest he's going No. 1 anyway
According to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, the Sixers are leaning "heavily" toward drafting Simmons. Though over a month remains and there is a lot of support for Ingram going No. 1, it seems the consensus is behind Simmons, a unique and extremely high-ceiling talent in the NBA.