The Philadelphia 76ers just suffered through one of the worst seasons in NBA history, but it looks like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
The 76ers won the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, giving them the first overall pick for the first time since 1996, when they selected future Hall of Fame guard Allen Iverson.
Philly must make another good choice to climb out of a rebuild that seems to have no end in sight. The question now becomes whether the 76ers should take LSU forward Ben Simmons or Duke forward Brandon Ingram at No. 1.
They might have already made up their mind.
According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, citing league sources, the 76ers are “leaning heavily toward taking Simmons” with the top pick.
This isn’t much of a surprise. Some questioned Simmons’ lack of a killer instinct and outside shot during his freshman season, but he has more upside than Ingram.
Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game for LSU last season. He also shot 56 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range in 34.3 minutes per game.
The 76ers used top three picks in the last two drafts to select centers — Jahlil Okafor at No. 3 in 2015 and Joel Embiid at No. 3 in 2014. It’s still unclear if Embiid will ever play in the NBA given his long history of injury issues.
Simmons is capable of playing both forward positions, which would give 76ers head coach Brett Brown valuable lineup versatility.
Whichever player Philly selects at No. 1, he’s going to be under a lot of pressure to contribute right away and help turn around one of the league’s most iconic franchises.
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