The NBA Draft is just one week away, and it appears as though the Philadelphia 76ers aren’t sure what they are going to do with the first overall pick. Most believe that they will select LSU’s Ben Simmons, with Duke’s Brandon Ingram as a distant second option.
However, Simmons has refused to work out for the 76ers, or anyone else, for that matter. Ingram, on the other hand, worked out with Philadelphia earlier this week, leading some to speculate that the 76ers may end up drafting him. Simmons’ refusal to work out has also fueled rumors that he is hoping to fall to the second pick so he can play in Los Angeles for the Lakers.
76ers GM Bryan Colangelo disputed that notion, but the reasons behind Simmons’ refusal to workout will be a topic of much debate all the way up to the draft. When asked whether the 76ers might take Ingram instead of Simmons, Colangelo gave something of a surprising response, via ESPN.com:
“It changes every day.”
Of course, Colangelo doesn’t want to tip his hand about who the team is drafting, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real debate happening within the 76ers front office. Colangelo recently laid out the dilemma succinctly to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:
“You can make an argument either way, that Brandon Ingram would fit well and that Ben Simmons would fit well. That’s the discussion, those are the conversations that we’re having to try to determine not just which player will ultimately have the better career and achieve a higher status, but which player is the best fit as well.”
For the Lakers, the decision for the second pick seems to be very clear: simply select whichever of Simmons or Ingram is still on the board. A strong argument can be made for either player, but for all intents and purposes, the choice doesn’t appear to be theirs to make.
Simmons is still the favorite to wind up being taken with the first overall pick, but it doesn’t appear to be as much of a certainty as it was a week ago. Perhaps Ingram’s workout, combined with Simmons’ refusal to do the same, has swayed the 76ers to go against the consensus and take Ingram. We won’t know for sure until the first name is called on Thursday, June 23rd.