High Schooler IMG SG Anfernee Simons entering 2018 NBA Draft

(Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

As Philadelphia 76ers ponder how to use 6 draft picks, the team now has a curious option with high schooler SG Anfernee Simons entering the 2018 NBA Draft

The Philadelphia 76ers  are in brand new territory this season.  For the first time in his career, head coach Brett Brown is staring at postseason play. And that means that the team is girding for playoffs.  Simultaneously, the Philadelphia 76ers front office is staring at six 2018 NBA Draft picks. At the moment, the best pick is at the edge of the top ten.

The 2018 NBA Draft is in brand new territory this year too. For the first time since the rules changed, a high school graduate will enter the NBA Draft.  Anfernee Simons will forego his NCAA college basketball eligibility in the process. How? Due to the fact that he turns 18 before the draft and has graduated high school makes him eligible for the NBA Draft. Many players still put in one more year of college play to round out their game. But Simons trusts scout feedback suggesting he is readly now. Ready or not, here he comes.

Draft strategy?

While that could mean any host of possibilities, it certainly does open up the team for investing in a player with incredible upside.  But a young player without NCAA coaching for even one year will need time to develop. Right now, shooting guard Anfernee Simons’ decision to forego NCAA Basketball and head straight to the pros  places him uniquely in that category.  With the Philadelphia 76ers sitting on six draft picks, its hard to imagine that the team wouldn’t bite.

Christopher Kline scouted Simons with his recent Big Board 5.0.  He loves the young man’s upside, but questions the maturity of one so young. Still, he assesses the overall value of the young man as the equivalent of a top-six prospect, and projects him at 16.  The Philadelphia 76ers currently possess the 10, 21, 36, 39, 51, and 60th picks.  While the team could get a solid contributor at 10, the remaining five picks will likely not result in a 2019 impact player. That should put the 76ers in the market for a player like Simons. But what to do with him if selected?


The Philadelphia 76ers certainly have some options for the 2018-2019 if they choose Anfernee Simons to the team. For the past two seasons, the tean has carried a shooting guard deep in the depth chart. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Furkan Korkmaz had both landed on the Philadelphia 76ers 15-man roster but had limited playing time. To speed player development, the team shared the player with their affiliate Delaware 87ers.  Simons would prosper in this scenario, as he would compete mainly against players of similar skillsets and age group.

The team could select Simons and assign him to the NBA Two-way contract option. While that will not pay him as much as remaining on the 15-man roster, the benefit is that he is almost exclusively a G-league player and will only be “called up” a limited number of times to the NBA.  The team could even do the standard draft-and-stash with Simons, setting him to a two-year Euroleague team contract to help develop the young man.

Is he worth the trouble?

He most certainly is. Currently 5-star 6-foot-4 177 pound shooting guard, he buries the needle in talent. His national ranking composite score is .9969. A 1.0000 is perfect. To compare, Michael Porter Jr. is also a 5-star, and is rated .9998 by the same composite. Now, if the rankings are correct, getting a Michael Porter Jr. talent in the second half of the NBA Draft is pretty rare, and valuable.

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But without college film, there will be challenges to accurately rate the young man. That means his NBA Combine will be all the more important. Much like Porter Jr. whose injury forced him to sit out, his assessment will be more heavily weighted in the Combine performance. From that, teams will extrapolate his projection against players they are more familiar with. Right now, with six picks, the Philadelphia 76ers could use their first rounder to secure Simons for the future.  So is he worth the trouble. Oh heck yes!  The only way to get the future right is to risk getting it wrong. Simons has such huge upside, he is definitely worth a pick.