LSU forward Ben Simmons is the favorite to be selected with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Simmons is also a lifelong fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, and being drafted first would land him with the Philadelphia 76ers. If he wants to continue to wear purple and gold, Simmons will need to find a way to fall to the Lakers, who own the second pick.
Given the situation, there have been rumors that Simmons may indeed attempt to dissuade Philadelphia from selecting him, even as the Sixers themselves are thought to be leaning more and more towards taking him. However, according to a recent report from Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times, a source in the Simmons camp has given the impression that they wouldn’t be disappointed if Philadelphia makes Simmons the first overall pick:
A source close to Simmons said Thursday that Simmons, while undoubtedly preferring to be a Laker, “has no issue with playing for the Sixers.”
Of course, regardless of what Simmons prefers, Philadelphia is in the drivers seat here. They can select whoever they want in the draft; that’s their right as a result of having the first pick. Ben and his agency (Klutch Sports, aka Team LeBron James) can make things difficult on the Sixers by refusing to work out or meet with them, not releasing medical records to the team or the nuclear option of threatening to play overseas.
However, there hasn’t been any indication that Simmons would go to those lengths, nor have the Sixers tipped their hand regarding which way they are leaning. In the Moore piece, Sixers Vice President of Player Personel Marc Eversley stated that the team is still analyzing the information available to them:
“It’s an ongoing process. We’re utilizing all of our tools and all of our information. We have trust in our group. We’ll be ready on the 23rd to make a selection that’s going to make this team move forward.”
While the Lakers would certainly love to have Simmons, and are rumored to prefer him over Duke forward, Brandon Ingram, they won’t know for sure which one they will get until the Sixers pick is announced at the draft on June 23rd.