The Los Angeles Lakers were left celebrating last night after finding out they would get the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The lottery went "chalk" for the first time ever, with no teams moving up or down, meaning that the only team picking ahead of Los Angeles in what is widely considered a two-player draft were the Philadelphia 76ers.
Who the Sixers will actually take will remain an open question as the teams head into the draft. Would they add LSU's Ben Simmons to their already crowded frontcourt? Or will Philadelphia attempt to space the floor better and fill a massive hole on the wing with Duke's Brandon Ingram?
According to multiple reports, it appears that the Sixers are leaning towards selecting Simmons. Angus Crawford of Sporting News Australia reported that "the Sixers do not have any hesitation in assessing Simmons and one month out, appear to be have him atop their board, according to sources close to the situation."
Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report also filed a report on both the Lakers and Sixers following the lottery, and his sources also make it sound like Simmons will be the next first overall pick:
The Philadelphia 76ers are leaning heavily toward taking Simmons on June 23, according to league sources, with the No. 1 overall pick they landed in the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night.
That would set the Los Angeles Lakers up at No. 2 with Ingram, who already wowed them in his May 11 interview on opening day of the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Ingram's drive to be great and dedication to winning, according to sources, resonated deeply with the Lakers' front-office contingent.
Both Ding and Crawford cite the Australian Simmons' ties to head coach Brett Brown and other members of the Sixers organization as additional reasons, outside of his superstar potential, swaying Philadelphia towards the versatile forward.
Based off of Ding's report that the Lakers were 'wowed' by Ingram, they will probably be fine with that scenario, and there is an argument to be made it is actually a better one for the franchise.
While Simmons raw skills and phenomenal playmaking ability are enough to make any team drool, Ingram would seamlessly fill the Lakers' need for a long-term answer at small forward. There is no reason to think the skinny soon-to-be 19-year old cannot develop into a standout defender with his prodigious length for the position, and he looks like he will be able to alleviate the Lakers' clogged offense with his shooting from day one.
There will likely be conflicting reports about who Philadelphia favors, or if they will trade the pick, until draft day. No matter which player they choose, the Lakers will still be left with a likely stud to kick start the team's rebuilding efforts heading into the 2015-16 season.
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