Two days before this year’s NBA Draft and the Philadelphia 76ers have already made up their mind. The team is expected to take Ben Simmons as the top overall pick while Duke’s Brandon Ingram is seen to be on his way to Tinseltown with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Since it is inevitable, the LSU standout has agreed to work out with the Jahlil Okafor team on Tuesday after he met with 76ers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo and 76ers coach Brett Brown last week. The 19-year-old Simmons agreed to his first pre-draft workout after the 76ers informed him that he is their top pick for this year’s draft.
76ers coach Brett Brown, who also coached the Australian Men’s team, noted that he best knows Simmons as he is a close friend of his father, Dave, back in their NBL days. Brown also slammed critics for their speculations surrounding Simmons and his attitude. In an interview with WIP radio’s Angelo Cataldi, as reported by news.com.au, Brown stated that Simmons grew from a good family with solid foundations and his character should not be put to the question.
“I think it’s part of being 19, 20 years old. I know how he ticks. I know his family. And from a competitive standpoint and a growth perspective, I mean we all get it. They’re just teenagers. I think the foundation of his character and the foundation of his family, he’s been raised well. He comes from strong values. I don’t worry about those sort of conspiracy theories that at times surround Ben,” Brown said.
Brown added that his closeness to the Simmons and the fact that Ben is getting drafted as this year’s top pick has greatly impacted the 76ers as destiny would have him coach a player whom he knows very well.
“He’s in a position to be selected first and we’re in a position where the ping-pong ball fell our way, and we have an opportunity to choose him. Knowledge of his background, his coaches, people that were around him, his family, I feel like how can that not be an advantage, and in many ways a great advantage?” Brown added.
With Simmons likely to be drafted by the 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers is high likely to take on Brandon Ingram from Duke University. Rumors circulated that had the Lakers got the No. 1 pick, they would go all out for Ingram as well. Sources told The Vertical that Ingram is a perfect fit for their system and will generate a whole lot of excitement for their future with the addition of new coach Luke Walton on the sidelines.
With that who will be the next big thing for the remaining teams to draft? The Boston Celtics are likely to take in Kris Dunn, not unless they pass him for either Marquese Chriss or Buddy Hield. Dunn’s medical records which were not made available for the Celtics and other teams to see makes him questionable going into the draft and could affect his chances of landing with a team as well.
The Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves are still in the running for getting potential rookies in the draft after the Celtics makes their announcement following the drafting of Simmons and Ingram.
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