With roughly a month until the 2016 NBA Draft, the debate over who should be selected first overall is raging. Some are believing it should be LSU’s Ben Simmons, and others think Duke’s Brandon Ingram is the correct choice.
However, the majority think that Simmons will ultimately be selected first by the Philadelphia 76ers and Ingram will fall to the Lakers with the second pick. At 6’10” and 240 pounds, Simmons possesses guard-like passing and dribbling skills which may be too intriguing for Philadelphia to turn down.
Not everyone considers Simmons to be worthy of the top pick, though. In fact, USA Today’s LSU beat writer Glen Guilbeau doesn’t even consider Simmons to be a lock to be selected in the top two. Guilbeau, who covered Simmons closely during the college season, didn’t pull any punches when he appeared on the Breakfast on Broad show:
“To me, he’s more of a specialist player and a complementary player than someone who can really take over a team…I don’t think he should be the first pick… I can see him being a high first-round pick. It depends on the team he’s going to. Do they have enough of the other parts of the team where he can be a facilitator and a complementary player?”
These comments certainly come as something of a surprise. The first overall pick certainly should not be just a complementary player, but Guilbeau doesn’t see a star in the young Australian. Like many, he cites concerns over Simmons’ shooting as a primary reason why he considers him to not be worthy of the first overall pick:
“Before he ever played he was supposed to be the greatest player, and I just never saw it. I covered great players here like Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Jackson, and he just didn’t change a team like those guys did…he didn’t even try to shoot from the outside…He’s basically a guard who can’t shoot.”
Of course, Guilbeau’s opinions do not mesh with just about every other draft expert in the country. Even those who believe Ingram should be the first pick still concede that Simmons would fall no lower than second.
The Lakers surely wouldn’t let him slide past them. Simmons may be something of a difficult fit alongside Julius Randle, but his court vision and ability to run the fast break alongside D’Angelo Russell would allow Los Angeles to play the exciting brand of basketball that GM Mitch Kupchak recently spoke about.
Additionally, while Guilbeau’s comments are not entirely unfounded, his parting remarks may drop his credibility among savvy NBA fans:
“Either you can dominate inside like a Shaquille O’Neal, or you can do all the other things, but all the other things has to include shooting from the outside, and he doesn’t do that. I’d rather have Buddy [Hield].”
In spite of Guilbeau’s criticisms, Simmons will still be the favorite to land in Philadelphia with the first overall pick. Should the 76ers ultimately decide to go with Ingram, then Simmons will get to stay in purple and gold with the Lakers, which may be just what he is hoping for.