NEWTON SQUARE, PA. – The city of Philadelphia erupted when the Sixers landed the first overall pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft.
By the reaction, you would have thought they won the NBA Finals on May 17th. However, this fanbase will take anything positive at this rate.
Philadelphia (10-72) had the highest percentage to obtain the top pick and were fortunate to have the ping pong balls go their way in the lottery.
A big thank you to Dikembe Mutumbo for letting everybody know a few hours early!
Securing the top selection was the first order of business for Bryan Colangelo, who is the president of basketball operations and general manager for the Sixers.
Now the focus is whether to select Ben Simmons (LSU) or Brandon Ingram (Duke). For me, Simmons is the top player in this draft class for a variety of reasons.
Simmons was already a face of a team, in addition to being the primary focus of defenses. He also an NBA body at 6’10” and 225 pounds, whereas Ingram has to add weight by being a generous 190. The point forward will be able to run the fast break as well. People say he can’t shoot, but look at LeBron James. He seems to be perfectly fine in the league.
Take the best player available in the draft and figure it out. Ingram is a talented player with an outside shot, but the primary player on Duke’s squad this season was Grayson Allen. Simmons I believe is more of an immediate impact, compared to Ingram who might take a few more years to develop. There are going to be several pros and cons for both players, but they will both go 1 and 2 in the draft.
Now, after the first pick is where it gets interesting. Adding Simmons creates even more depth for a team that has stockpiled power forwards and centers. Most have Simmons playing the four or better known as power forward. Trade rumors have already spread like wildfire with Jahlil Okafor in the thick of it.
Okafor was recently named to the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team, while also ranking second in points per game for rookies. The Duke product averaged 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He has NBA All-Star written all over him, especially when it comes down to the center position.
His footwork is absolutely tremendous for a 20-year-old that constantly dealt with double teams in the paint. Whenever he kicked the ball out, nobody on this roster could consistently knock down a perimeter shot. He’s still growing into his body at 6’11” and 275 pounds. His shot will continue to develop farther out as well.
The struggle is on the defensive end. Yes, he is not the best defender in the world. However, these are areas that can be taught. Not many players possess his ability to put the ball in the basket. I will gladly trade his offense for his lack of defense any day.
The front-court now has Okafor, Simmons, Dario Šarić, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid. It is not a given that Šarić is coming over this season. Second, Embiid has failed to prove that he can stay healthy or let alone get on the court. That leaves Okafor, Simmons, and Noel.
Brett Brown needs to make it work. Imagine this type of rotation of bigs every single game. There would constantly be a pair of bigs on the court that could give the opposition problems. Simmons can run the floor like a guard with great size. Okafor is instant offense in the paint. Šarić apparently has an outside shot to make him a stretch-four. Noel protects the rim and grabs boards. Embiid, well he can do it all when healthy (hopefully).
Each player offers something unique to the team. Pounding the paint for easy buckets is how the Sixers would beat-up teams. Why not go big with every single team electing to play “small ball” in the NBA?
The only way you trade Okafor is if the deal is an offer that you can’t refuse in my opinion.
Scenario 1: Rebuild, grab guards
Boston: Jahlil Okafor & Swaps Picks (Receives No. 24 & 26)
Philadelphia: No. 3 (Kris Dunn) & Swaps Picks for No. 16 & 23
- No. 16 (Malachi Richardson) & 23 (Tyler Ulis)
Scenario 2: Trade to win now
Indiana: Jahlil Okafor, 2017 1st Round pick, 2017 Lakers (Top 3 protected) 1st Round pick
Philadelphia: Paul George
Scenario 3: Trade for the future, landing Simmons & Ingram
Los Angeles: Jahlil Okafor
Philadelphia: No. 2 pick (Brandon Ingram)