With the college basketball season coming to its final weeks, people are starting to become skeptical on whether or not Ben Simmons will be the number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, after not being able to lead LSU to the tournament. Brandon Ingram has been on fire for the surging Duke basketball team, so he seems to be the only one to be in contention to get consideration for the top pick. In this article, we will discuss who should be the number one pick, Brandon Ingram or Ben Simmons.
In this article, we will only look at the top two projected twos for the number one pick. Philadelphia has addressed their frontcourt with four straight picks. Dario Saric, a first round pick from 2014, has not yet played for the 76ers, but is scheduled to come over to the states in the 2016-2017 season. Saric is a capable floor stretching power forward, something Philadelphia desperately needs. Another pick from this draft class who has not been healthy enough for the court is Joel Embiid. The pairing of Saric and Embiid has a lot more potential than the current combination of Noel and Okafor, who have no ability to stretch the floor.
So with an already clogged frontcourt, would Philadelphia actually draft Ben Simmons? In his likely only season of college basketball, Simmons averaged 19.2 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game, 4.8 assists per game, while shooting 56.0% from the field, and 33.3% from three. No one can deny the dominance Simmons has been able to orchestrate on the court this season. However, when you look at his shooting habits, Simmons rarely leaves the paint to take a shot, and critics are weary of his jump shot, as he has not worked on it during live games. Ben Simmons is getting a lot of comparisons to LeBron James, but I think he resembles Blake Griffin coming out of college. Griffin did not have a reliable jumper, decent playmaker, and mediocre free throw shooter. The problem for Simmons not developing his jumper will having defenses slack off of him in the NBA, and the grown men of the NBA interior defenses, will not let him get to rim like he currently does in facing the mediocre defenses of the SEC, something Griffin has consistently worked on, to be a reliable, deadly threat. Now most teams would be ecstatic to have Griffin on their team, so adding a younger, more affordable option in Simmons is very tantalizing.
When looking at the opposition for the number one pick for Simmons, the 0nly name to even hold its own with Simmons is Brandon Ingram. Ingram is another prime candidate for the one-and-done. This season, Ingram averaged 16.8 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 1.9 assists per game, while shooting 44.1% from the field, while shooting 41.3% from three. Besides his three point shooting, Ingram is behind Simmons in every statistical category. Ingram draws a lot of comparisons to former MVP Kevin Durant. Ingram possess a silky stroke, capable rebounder, and the same defensive potential as Durant.
If Philadelphia lands the first pick, they will have to decide if Simmons’ advantage in speed, strength and playmaking outweigh Ingram’s advantage in shooting and length. Philadelphia has the option to draft the best player available in Simmons, but when it comes to need, Brandon Ingram fits in the roster better. Ingram is capable of stepping in from day one, and being the go to scorer to free up the post for whatever rotation the 76ers send out. With another two first round picks in the first round, Philadelphia can add pieces to its backcourt, to make up for the playmaking ability Ingram has not yet quite developed, compared to Simmons. We know Brandon Ingram is far from a finished product, but so is Simmons. He needs to bulk up, he needs to become a better finisher around the rim, and his ball handling is a work in process. Ingram’s shooting ability allows him to transition easier into an NBA starting five. By drafting so many big men in recent drafts, Philadelphia has played themselves out of drafting Simmons, as he needs a rim protector, and three capable shooters to free the paint for himself. Philadelphia only has one of these intangibles, who has proven himself in Noel. If Philadelphia does land the number one pick, they are choosing between two workhorses, who both have the potential to become the franchise pillar for Philadelphia.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17