With the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, it's all but a given that the Los Angeles Lakers will end up with one of the two top freshman forwards, either Ben Simmons out of LSU or Brandon Ingram of Duke. The team will get a great player either way, but if Simmons' former high school coach, Kevin Goorijian, has his way it will be his pupil ending up in purple and gold to start his pro career.
"If he ended up in L.A., that would be just fantastic," Goorijan told Omnisport (as picked up by Sacha Pisani of Sporting News) of the possibility of Simmons ending up in Los Angeles. "But wherever he ends up, he is going to make an impact and help a NBA team. I believe he is going to be an All-Star. I don't know of any Australians on All-Star teams."
While many would suggest that Ingram would fit better in Los Angeles right off the bat due to the Lakers' current roster construction, Simmons could be a terror if unleashed in the type of Warriors-like offense incoming head coach Luke Walton wants to run. Simmons is already a phenomenal facilitator, and if unleashed to make plays in space as a type of point-forward he could look like a solid player as soon as next season (provided the Lakers put enough shooting around him, which is no given). His old coach has slightly higher hopes.
"He is going to be the best basketballer Australia has produced," said Goorijian. "He is the No. 1 pick. It's clear."
Simmons' status as the top pick is also apparently clear to the Philadelphia 76ers, who are reportedly "leaning heavily" towards taking him first overall. If that is a smoke-screen, however, Simmons would be a great consolation prize and instant cornerstone for the Lakers.
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