One story that has been followed closely throughout this draft process has been whether or not Ben Simmons would ever work out or meet with any team ahead of next week’s NBA Draft. Brandon Ingram, the other top prospect in this class, had met and worked out for both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers, but Simmons had done neither.
Some wondered if this was a case of Simmons trying to force his way to the Lakers, who own the second overall pick as there had been rumors of that being Simmons’ preference.
Those thoughts can now go to rest as Simmons and the Sixers met face-to-face for the first time on Thursday according to ESPN’s Marc Stein:
The Philadelphia 76ers had their first face-to-face meeting with presumptive No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons on Thursday, ESPN.com has learned.
Stein noted that this was only a meeting and not a workout as there was no basketball work. Nonetheless, he does say that the Sixers were impressed by the muscle Simmons has added to his body:
The Sixers, sources said, came away impressed by the 20 pounds of muscle Simmons is said to have added to his physique since the end of the college season and viewed the meeting as the start of “building a relationship” with the player they are strongly expected to select ahead of Duke’s Brandon Ingram with the first pick next week.
The Sixers also obtained Simmons’ medical information which Stein says was a major priority for them. With this now having taken place, it seems all but certain that the Sixers will take Simmons first when the draft takes place next week.
Apparently that bodes well for the Lakers as they reportedly would have targeted Brandon Ingram even if they had the top overall pick. The first two picks of the NBA Draft seem basically set in stone.