With the 2016 NBA draft a little over a month away, rumors are swirling regarding who the Philadelphia 76ers are going to select with the No. 1 overall pick. After winning yesterday’s NBA lottery, the 76ers are now in control of what many around the league believe to be a two-player draft. LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons had been viewed as the consensus No. 1 overall pick for much of the last year, but Duke Blue Devils forward Brandon Ingram has also made his case as the top player. Regardless of Ingram’s potential, the latest report says the 76ers will draft Simmons with the top pick, and the Lakers will select Ingram with the No. 2 overall pick.
As reported by Bleacher Report, the 76ers are still going to meet with Ingram, but, barring an injury to Simmons, he is not going to be their pick.
“The Philadelphia 76ers are leaning heavily toward taking Simmons on June 23, according to league sources, with the No. 1 overall pick they landed in the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night. That would set the Los Angeles Lakers up at No. 2 with Ingram, who already wowed them in his May 11 interview on opening day of the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Ingram’s drive to be great and dedication to winning, according to sources, resonated deeply with the Lakers’ front-office contingent. The 76ers will further investigate Ingram, but they have great confidence in the upside of Simmons, whose ambidextrous athletic ability at 6’10” and 240 pounds comes with innate basketball instincts.”
Still, the draft on June 23 is over a month away, and certain things can change. While he does not have much of a choice in the matter, Simmons apparently wants to be drafted by the Lakers, according to Nick DePaula of The Vertical at Yahoo! Sports. Simmons currently has a five-year endorsement deal on the table from Adidas for $10 million. It also includes a $2 million signing bonus and another $1 million bonus if Simmons is named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
In addition to the offer from Adidas, Simmons also has a five-year endorsement deal on the table from Nike for $7.5 million. Besides being $2.5 million less than the Adidas offer, the Nike offer also contains fewer bonus incentives. Since Los Angeles is currently a more attractive destination for NBA players than Philadelphia, Simmons and his agent wanted him to land with the Lakers. While there is still a chance that Nike increases its offer, Simmons and his camp thought that being drafted by the Lakers would increase their leverage.
Regardless of the endorsement situation, there are currently no reports stating that Simmons will attempt to block the 76ers from drafting him. If the 76ers feel as though Simmons is the best prospect in the draft, they are going to select him, regardless of how he feels about the organization. And while the 76ers finished with a record of 10-72 last season, they are not exactly as bad as their record indicated.
Much of their failure over the past few seasons has been by design, and it appears as though the 76ers may finally be putting an end to the tanking process. While the 76ers could have signed mediocre free agents in order to slightly improve their team, they instead opted to be really bad in order to have the best chance at winning the NBA lottery. Being mediocre in the NBA is the worst place that you can be, and the 76ers may finally be able to reap the rewards of their difficult past few seasons.
With a roster that includes Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel, Ben Simmons will not exactly be joining a talentless team. In addition to Okafor and Noel, Turkish professional player Dario Saric is also expected to join the 76ers this season. The 76ers’ 2014 first-round draft pick, Joel Embiid, is also expected to finally play his first game in the NBA, and there is a chance that he could have the highest ceiling among all of the team’s young players.
Rumors will continue to link the Philadelphia 76ers to LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s NBA draft. Since this is only a two-player draft, the Lakers’ decision is simple, and that is to take the player that the 76ers do not. If the 76ers draft Simmons, the Lakers will take Ingram. If the 76ers draft Ingram, the Lakers will take Simmons.
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