The Philadelphia 76ers Should Be Wise When Selecting First Overall

Mar 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) in the first half against the Tennessee Volunteers during the SEC tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; LSU Tigers forward Ben Simmons (25) in the first half against the Tennessee Volunteers during the SEC tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

With The First Pick In The 2016 NBA Draft, The Philadelphia 76ers Select…

When Dikembe Mutombo sent out a congratulatory tweet to the Philadelphia 76ers for snagging the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft lottery the world flipped because it was four hours before the actual lottery was announced. Mutombo quickly apologized for a misinterpretation of a 76er E-mail he’d received earlier in the day, but 76ers fans then salivated at the thought of the Sixers getting the first overall pick for the third time in franchise history.

The last time the 76ers got the first overall pick was 20 years ago, when a 6’0″ guard from Georgetown presented the NBA with something it had never seen before. Now, 20 years later, the franchise with some of the most transcendent players in league history have an opportunity to grab one more.

There has been much speculation as to who Philadelphia should draft: Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. One showcased supreme all-around skill on an underwhelming, underachieving team, while the other has more raw than polish to his game, but has the motor of a go-to scorer.

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Ben Simmons, a highly touted prospect from Australia had a great individual season at LSU. With averages of 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assist, Simmons displayed a great feel for the game and drew comparisons to all-time greats like Magic Johnson and LeBron James. His 6’10″ 225 pound frame and ball handling skills are complimented with exceptional court vision and a pass-first intuition. All signs pointed to a guaranteed number one overall pick this summer, but as the season went on Simmons showed eye opening flaws.

While Simmons put up dynamic type numbers garnering a consensus first team All-American selection, they seemed empty considering he never played BIG in any primetime matchup this past season. His LSU squad was not considered a juggernaut, but we also have to take into account that he did not play well enough to swing enough games to punch a ticket in the 2016 NCAA tournament.

To add insult to injury, his scoring repertoire was limited because he struggled outside of 10 feet. In 33 games at LSU, Simmons made just one 3-pointer in just three attempts. Considering where the game has gone with emphasis on the perimeter, the ball dominant Simmons would be a liability in some respects, but more than anything, Simmons’ temperament and motor came into question time after time with the game in the balance. Many people questioned if he was just going through the motions because it was a forgone conclusion he was headed to the association.

Whatever the case may be, Simmons’ ability to galvanize his teammates seemed nonexistent. The hunger for the postseason did not seem like it was there, showcasing a Magic Johnson/LeBron James ceiling but Lamar Odom habits.

Odom had all around great talent, but underwhelmed in production (career averages of 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assist) reticent to defer to than to take over. Odom went on to have a 14-year career, highlighted by two NBA championships and a sixth man of the year with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Duke’s 6’9″ shooting guard Brandon Ingram displayed a knack for putting the ball in the basket with an average of 17.3 points and great range, shooting 41 percent from deep. His 190 pound physique and pension for scoring has drawn comparisons to the prolific Kevin Durant. His 7’3″ wingspan is a plus when you consider his body has not filled out just yet.

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  • While Ingram has great length which should translate at the NBA level, his slender frame may not be NBA ready just yet compared to Ben Simmons. Many Pundits reserved judgement on Durant in the same vein, but he’s gone on to average 27.4 points per game during his nine year career, appeared in seven All-Star Games, a five time All-NBA performer, four time scoring champion, a league Most Valuable Player and outside of an injury plagued 2014-15 season, has remained durable throughout his career.

    I am more inclined to favor Ingram with the number one pick because of his motor and tenacity. Philadelphia sports fans have always taken pride in their players’ thirst to attack. If Simmons shows the same inconsistencies with his effort that he showed at LSU it will be an issue. Simmons’ inability to stretch the floor with an outside shot will be an issue for all of Philadelphia’s interior players as well. Even if Simmons was a streaky shooter, the threat of the outside shot would be there, allowing him to utilize his size and exceptional passing skills on command.

    Ingram is an outright scorer with the ability to put it on the floor. Playing at Duke under Coach K put Ingram in position to play in high pressure situations leading the Blue Devils to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

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    Both have great upside being as young as they are and should be perennial All-Stars in the near future, especially if they max out all of their physical gifts, but if we were to split hairs, Philadelphia should move toward the player with the proven competitive meddle. His name is Brandon Ingram.