The Philadelphia 76ers prevailed last night, and secured the #1 pick in next month’s NBA Draft. It was one of the few joyous moments of the last few years for the Sixers organization, who have seen their beloved team trudge through four miserable losing seasons and fail to win 20 games in each of the last three years.
That being said, it isn’t all roses for Philadelphia going forward. They’ve got somewhat of a good problem to work through in the paint, as they try to figure out what to do with their three promising big men: Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. Noel’s health seems to be on the up-and-up, and he enjoyed his best season as a pro last year, while Okafor was pretty much every bit as good as advertised. Embiid on the other hand has yet to play in a regular season game due to injuries, and despite being the 3rd overall pick in the 2014 draft, he could find himself deep in the depths of the Sixers rotation when it’s all said and done.
On the other hand, the Sixers’ more immediate work will be done over the next few weeks, when they’ll likely be deciding between the consensus top 2 picks in the year’s draft: LSU phenom Ben Simmons, and the sharpshooting Brandon Ingram of Duke. Simmons is already being pegged as the next LeBron James, but his below average outside shooting ability could make Ingram the safer choice. Still, by all indications, Simmons is a once-in-a-generation talent, and this report from Bleacher Report suggests that Philadelphia is very aware of that.
If he goes #1, it would be the first time the Sixers would have used their first pick in the draft to select a non-big man since 2013, when they selected eventual Rookie of the Year winner Michael Carter-Williams out of Syracuse. Simmons would also be just the second LSU player to be picked first in the draft, the first being a guy you may or may not have heard of: Shaquille O’Neal.