NBA Rumors: Ben Simmons Refusing Workouts Prior To Draft

Ben Simmons is refusing workouts offered to him by teams leading up to the NBA Draft, and it’s causing some controversy for the former LSU basketball star.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Simmons declined an offer to work out for the 76ers, who own the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. The report also states that Simmons does not plan to work out for any team prior to the draft.

Should the Philadelphia 76ers be concerned by Simmons’ refusal to display his talents for the team?

“It’s not a red flag,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said. “Everybody deals with the draft process differently. Sometimes agents are involved. Sometimes families are involved in those decisions. Again, everything we get in respect to our intel that it relates to Ben, is he would very much like to be selected No. 1.”

The reasons why Ben Simmons is refusing workouts is up for debate; however, it does make sense on many levels.

Simmons has long been considered the No. 1 player in the upcoming draft. Given that fact, what could he possible gain by working out for Philadelphia or any other NBA team?

The worst-case scenario would appear to have Simmons going No. 2 to the Los Angeles Lakers, as opined by Deadspin. The consensus seems to be that the only player capable of eclipsing Simmons on draft night is former Duke star Brandon Ingram. If Ingram was in fact chosen No. 1 overall, an argument could be made that Simmons would be just as well off, perhaps better off, going to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2.

Los Angeles is considered a highly desirable destination for NBA players, given the “Hollywood” lifestyle and massive media market. Being a star player in Los Angeles can bring off-the-court marketing opportunities to a player that few other cities can match.

CBS Sports goes as far as suggesting that Ben Simmons is intentionally trying to distance himself from the 76ers, in order to fall one spot in the draft to the Lakers. Only those in Simmons’ camp know if there is any validity to this, but it has been reported by CSN Philly that Simmons and his agent had dinner with members of Philadelphia’s front office in Cleveland before Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Perhaps Simmons wants to be chosen No. 1, after all?

This type of cat-and-mouse game leading up to draft night is a common occurrence; it’s something agents and teams are very accustomed to dealing with. Regardless of Ben Simmons’ rationale for avoiding team workouts, it probably won’t alter his draft stock.

Ben Simmons
[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]
A good example of this would be the Philadelphia 76ers themselves. The team spent No. 3 overall draft choices on Joel Embiid (2014) and Jahlil Okafor (2015), but hadn’t worked out either player prior to the draft. Another significant piece, Nerlens Noel (taken 6th by the New Orleans Hornets in 2013), was added soon after the draft via trade. The 76ers made this major deal to acquire Noel, even though he had not worked out for the team at any point before or after the draft.

Ben Simmons played one year at LSU before declaring for the NBA Draft. The native of Australia had a very productive freshman season for the Tigers, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game.

Despite his outstanding statistics, some observers feel that Simmons’ performance last season for the Tigers was a bit underwhelming. However, based on his immense talent, and the fact that he was willing to meet with the 76ers this week, he remains the favorite to be the top choice in the June 23 NBA Draft.

Ben Simmons refusing workouts with NBA teams prior to draft night simply seems to be a case of playing the odds and not doing anything to hurt his status in the eyes of NBA scouts and general managers. What do you think about Simmons’ pre-draft tactics?

[Photo by Samantha Baker/AP Images]

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