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 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]