The Philadelphia 76ers have announced they will be taking Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in the NBA draft.
No shock there. Simmons is a 6-10 forward that can pass like a point guard, rebound like a center, and has the athleticism of a wing player. Simmons was the unanimous top prospect amongst recruiting websites last year and has been pegged as a future NBA star for a long time.
Of course, there are already many people shouting “bust” at the mention of his name. I stumbled upon this tweet from basketball analyst Jay Bilas and the replies caught my attention.
Ben Simmons averaged more points than John Wall, more rebounds than Kevin Love and more assists than Steph Curry. He’s pretty damn good.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) June 23, 2016
In his only year playing for LSU, Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 2.0 steals a game. As Bilas states, he’s pretty damn good.
Now, here is what most of the replies to the Bilas tweet looked like:
@JayBilas How about his lack of a consistent jumper?
— Maurice trice (@dukeboy100) June 23, 2016
Without many noticeable flaws in his game, people consistently attack this one. Yes, Ben Simmons only attempted 3 three-point shots in college (making one).So he’s no Steph, but his ability to attack the basket and create opportunities for other teammates makes up for his lack of range. Let’s not act like that cannot be improved.
There are many players, especially big men, who come into the league without a three-point shot and develop one over the years. Bilas responded to the tweet above using Grant Hill as an example of someone who didn’t shoot three-pointers early in his career but learned.
Al Horford and Serge Ibaka are two big men that come to mind that had no three-point shot early in their careers but have made it a huge part of their game.
In the first seven years of Horford’s career, he made a total of 10 three-point shots. This year alone he made 88 of them.
Serge Ibaka made two three-pointers in his first three years in the league. In the last four seasons he’s made 180. They are just a few examples of these types of players.
Just because a 19 year-old player doesn’t have a three-point shot doesn’t mean he won’t be successful or isn’t worth the top pick of the draft, even if the league is shifting towards a shooter’s league.
Ben Simmons is the best player in this draft (by far) and deserves to be the first overall selection, but from a team needs standpoint, he should not be selected by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 76ers have had many lottery pick in recent drafts and have gone big for most of them. Jahlil Okafor (C), Joel Embiid (C), and Nerlens Noel (C/PF) are all post players. Though he is versatile, Simmons spends a lot of his time in the paint.
If the Sixers are not able to move Okafor, then Simmons will likely start as a small forward and just add to the number of bodies in the paint. The Sixers will out-rebound many, but they will need to rely heavily on their guards for outside shooting because as we discussed earlier, Simmons is not helping in that area right now.
The Sixers could use a wing player with outside scoring ability, and that player is Brandon Ingram. Ingram is a solid two-way player that averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. Ingram also made 80 of his 195 three-pointers.
Simmons would actually fit in well with the Lakers. They have guards that can score from outside and have good low-post players, including Julius Randle who can make mid-range jumpers and isn’t forced to stay in the paint.
Ingram fits the Sixers needs, but Simmons seems to be a talent that a team cannot pass-up on.
It will be interesting to see what the Sixers intend on doing with their front-court in the future.