CHICAGO — The Sixers plan to start Ben Simmons at point guard next season, but that doesn't rule out drafting a player at the same position in June.
De'Aaron Fox thinks there's room for two point guards on the Sixers and that he, as he sees it, is the top candidate in the draft.
"I feel like I'm the best," Fox said Friday of the point guards in his class.
Fox is a projected top-five prospect and a legitimate possibility for the Sixers with their first-round pick or picks, depending on how the ping-pong balls fall Tuesday.
Fox met with the Sixers, along with seven other teams, at the NBA Draft Combine this week. The Sixers also interviewed projected top pick, Markelle Fultz. Lonzo Ball, the projected second overall pick, did not attend the event.
Fox sees a place for himself on a young team like the Sixers that has been in search of a consistent point guard.
"Talking to them, they wanted to see how I fit with Ben (Simmons) and Joel (Embiid)," Fox said. "I liked it. They have a lot of young pieces … they haven't really had a point guard in a few years. That could be the missing piece to what they need."
He added: "I feel like they have a bright future."
So how would a backcourt duo with Simmons work? Fox has an idea. He is friends with Simmons and already familiar with his game after the pair played in the same basketball circuit for two years in high school.
"They asked me about it, Ben being able to bring the ball up the court and being a facilitator," Fox said. "I feel like I'm shooting it a lot better. Once I'm getting back to how I shot it in high school, I feel like I could really fit with Ben. He's fast. I feel like the position he plays, not many people can grab a rebound and push it with the speed and vision that he has."
Being paired with Simmons would mean playing without the ball in his hands. Fox wants to prove he is more able to do that than his 24.6 percent three-point shooting demonstrated last season as a freshman at Kentucky.
"I am comfortable moving off the ball, but I have to show people that I can do it," he said. "No one really thinks I can do it because I struggled shooting it in college. I started shooting it well at the end of the year and I feel like if I'm knocking down shots, I'm very comfortable off the ball."
When it comes to Embiid, 31 games was enough for Fox to envision how he could complement him.
"Playing with any good big, it's a positive," Fox said. "It kind of takes the pressure off of you. You throw it in there and they're going to double team and do whatever they can to stop him. It's going to get me open looks, and I just have to show that I can knock them down."
Fox is confident in his talents and ability to enhance the areas where he needs work. He wants to improve his strength (he weighed in at 169.6 pounds and the fourth-lowest body fat, 4.5 percent, of all players measured at the combine), shot and get adjusted to the pace of the NBA. He considers his speed and ability to finish at the basket to be his most NBA-ready skills, which have earned him comparisons to John Wall.
"I've been able to finish over bigger guys my whole life," he said. "Now you're going to have guys like D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) … he's putting his shoulders at the top of the glass, so it's going to be tough but I know it's something I'll be able to work through."
Fox made the unconventional decision to attend the combine as a top prospect. He always has wanted to experience the pre-draft process. Fox also believes the face-to-face interaction could make a difference in a team's decision-making.
"Getting these 30 minutes with teams could change some minds," he said. "I wanted them to learn more about my personality than they already knew."
Fox was not swayed by Kevin Durant's recent comments in which the former No. 2 pick spoke out against his experiences in 2007.
"That's his opinion. Everybody has their own opinion," Fox said. "K.D. said it's a waste of time, but then you have other players say that the combine really helped them. It's all about your perspective. Everybody's going to have a different perspective."
Fox hopes talking with NBA teams in Chicago will give them a better perspective of him on draft night.