NEW YORK – The Sixers have had months to consider who they would pick in a variety of draft scenarios. Now that the order is set, they can hone in on one very specific selection: first overall.
The 2016 draft class is dominated by two players, Ben Simmons from LSU and Brandon Ingram from Duke. Entering this past season, Simmons was touted as the best of the group. Ingram, though, bolstered his stock to join Simmons as a number one candidate.
“When you analyze the top two prospects, as far as all the reports go and the media speculation, you’ve got two very talented players but two very different players,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said at the draft lottery.
Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists this season. The multifaceted 6-10 forward can fill many roles on the court. He shot 56 percent from the field but only 1 for 3 from three the entire season.
“A ball handling four who actually would be in a position to initiate the offense,” Colangelo said. “Very versatile. Plays multiple positions. He could actually play some three, play some four and even some small five in some situations the way the league is playing right now. But, again, the notion that he’s a ball-handling four puts him in a unique position with our team, to be a distributor.”
Ingram, 18, is a year younger than Simmons. He made his mark with both his scoring and defense, averaging 17.3 points (44.2 percent from the field, 41.0 percent from three), 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists. A lanky 6-9 forward, Ingram has to develop an NBA body.
“As you look at a Brandon Ingram, (he’s) more of a shooter, a silky smooth small forward type,” Colangelo said. “Probably can play multiple positions as well. I think you’ve got to look at his versatility. But, the one thing that stands out is his ability to shoot the basketball, above all else.”
The Sixers most likely will receive interest for the first pick from other teams, but they intend to keep it.
“It is a highly unlikely scenario that anything comes forward that would lead us to move the pick,” Colangelo said.
Colangelo’s criteria for a number one pick includes talent, character, versatility and the ability to represent both the team and the city of Philadelphia.
“I think that you're almost assured that at the top of this draft, you're going to have all those areas covered,” he said.
While the Sixers will zero in on the best fit at number one, they will also keep their eyes open to other lottery picks outside of the top two. They have already met with Ingram, Providence guard Kris Dunn, Kentucky guard Jamal Murray and Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield. They have not met yet with Simmons. He did not attend the lottery or the pre-draft combine last week in Chicago.
The Sixers also will continue to host workouts to evaluate talent at all points in the draft. They hold the 24th and 26th picks, and there is always the possibility they could move up through a trade.
The format of the workouts will vary on the draft stock of the prospect.
“Most of the high picks don't necessarily work out in what you call a traditional draft workout where there's six guys on the court and you see three-on-three, two-on-two, a lot of drill work,” Colangelo said. “Generally it's one-on-none workouts for the top handful of picks. That's probably going to be the norm. There are a couple of agent-led workouts that they'll still be participating in. They'll be part of more of a mix of players, on the court with multiple players but not necessarily competing in competitive situations.”
Colangelo and the Sixers staff have been eyeing top talent all season. In a little more than a month, they will select one of them with the number one pick.
“There’s a lot to do and we have our sleeves rolled up,” Colangelo said.