The Sixers are expected to draft Markelle Fultz, a point guard, on Thursday. So how will this work with the "Ben Simmons at the point" experiment?
That plan may not be as literal as it seemed this past season.
"I know Coach (Brett Brown) and I have, probably Coach more so than I, have used the terminology point guard for Ben as it relates to Ben Simmons," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Monday. "The way I like to characterize it, and I always fall back to this, is primary ball-handler." One of the criteria for the Sixers' selection at No. 1 has been fit. Not just the fit with the team, but also the fit with Simmons.
Simmons' responsibilities, however, may have more to do with his role than his specific position.
"Ben Simmons has incredible skill," Colangelo said. "He's got size, power and he's got great vision and feel. He's a facilitator. He's a playmaker. I have always said I don't care what we call him, point guard, point forward. We can call him point center.
"I don't care. To me, he's going to be on the floor using his versatility to make another player on the court better."
The Sixers signed Jerryd Bayless to a three-year deal last summer for his veteran leadership and ability to play off the ball alongside Simmons. They didn't share the court because of injuries, but the same concept remained heading into this offseason.
The question that came up during the draft process to players like Fultz and Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox was, "How can you play with Simmons?"
"I play with great players all the time, so whatever he needs me to do," Fultz said after his workout with the Sixers on Saturday. "If I'm running the floor or I'm setting the screen for him or giving it back, it doesn't matter. I'll be a great teammate."
Finding players with the ability to take on multiple roles is a priority for the Sixers. And that isn't limited to the backcourt, either.
"Dario Saric, to some degree, has facilitator skills. He's a playmaker," Colangelo said. "Joel Embiid is a playmaker at the five spot. We want players that are versatile, that have diverse skill sets, that can play multiple positions. I think sometimes we can get carried away with positional names — one, two, three, four, five. I've always said guards, wings and bigs."
On Thursday, the Sixers will have the opportunity to select the player that will best fit with Simmons, no matter how they decide to label him.
"I think it's safe to say we are in the position to draft someone that's going to complement Ben's skill set, whether he's a point guard or point forward," Colangelo said.