For those of you that have been living in a cave for the past week (congrats on getting out of that cave!), the Los Angeles Lakers received the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft on Tuesday. That slot means that the team will likely select one of the draft's pair of highly touted freshman forwards Ben Simmons of LSU and Brandon Ingram of Duke.
Which one the Lakers (likely) end up with will depend on which of the two that the Philadelphia 76ers select with the first overall pick, and judging by their head coach Brett Brown's comments to Colin Cowherd on "the Herd" following the lottery, they may end up leaning towards Simmons.
Brown has known Simmons for years due to his time coaching the Australian national team and coaching professionally, and he sounded pretty impressed with what he's seen. As transcribed by Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers, the Sixers coach compared Simmons to LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Magic Johnson over the span of a few sentences:
When you look at his form, no differently when we drafted Kawhi Leonard with the Spurs, one of the assessments we had to make is 'Was his shot transferable to the NBA?' Was it a total rebuild or was it a little bit of a makeover? And I think his form isn't one where you just have to blow it up and start over, and I think it can translate...
He's got a hint of Magic [Johnson]. You know at times, you can see like a younger LeBron [James] where you're not sure what position he is. One moment you think he's a four, maybe he's a three, he looks comfortable handling the ball. When you say, 'What is your identifiable, NBA elite skill?' most people will go immediately to passing.
You take that collection of comments and add it to a 6'10 frame, the comparisons to those two players could be a little bit reckless, could be a little bit ambitious, but there is no denying he really does come to the draft with a very unique skill package.
Here is where it's important to note that Brown will not make the final call on who the Sixers draft. That decision will fall to general manager
Sam Hinkie (RIP the process) Bryan Colangelo. The head of the Sixers front office could decide that he values Ingram's shooting and length at the small forward position more for their roster, which boasts four former lottery picks in the frontcourt already, despite initial reports also pointing to the Sixers favoring Simmons.
Still, Brown being so publicly smitten with Simmons is worth noting as we count down the minutes until the draft. How do you not take a player your coach just compared to two of the top three finishers in MVP voting this year and arguably the greatest point guard of all-time? We could find out when the draft takes place, and the only thing certain until then is that June 23rd can't get here soon enough.
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