The Philadelphia 76ers finally got their first meeting with the prospect they are reportedly "leaning heavily" towards selecting in next week's 2016 NBA Draft. Marc Stein of ESPN reports that Philadelphia had their first "face-to-face" meeting with projected first overall pick Ben Simmons on Thursday. The Sixers delegation for the pre-game six dinner included Sixers head coach Brett Brown and general manager Bryan Colangelo along with several other "team officials," according to Stein.
It has been assumed Simmons will end up in a Sixers uniform next week for a while now, which would leave the Los Angeles Lakers all but assured to select Duke forward Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick. There is reportedly "no chance" the Lakers let Ingram drop below the second overall pick, and based on his strong words during an appearance on ESPN's "First Take" this week, it sounds like the Lakers would end up with a player with a chip on his shoulder if that scenario plays out:
Bayless then asked about how Ingram would handle being drafted second. More specifically, would he set out to prove the world wrong about him not being drafted first? Ingram's response was pretty concise:
"Most definitely. Me being a competitor I think that's very important in my eyes, to not just go at him but go at every player in the league and try to learn from different players that's already been there."
Nothing is set in stone of course, but based on Stein's report, Simmons ending up going first to Philly seems like a foregone conclusion:
The Sixers, sources said, came away impressed by the 20 pounds of muscle Simmons is said to have added to his physique since the end of the college season and viewed the meeting as the start of "building a relationship" with the player they are strongly expected to select ahead of Duke's Brandon Ingram with the first pick next week.
Thursday's sitdown did not include any basketball work, but sources say that the Sixers are to date the only team that has been granted direct access to Simmons in the lead-up to the draft.
If that dinner is indeed the beginning of a budding relationship between the Sixers and Simmons, then the Lakers will be happy with the similar one they started with Ingram when they worked him out and took him out to dinner last week. The top-two picks in the draft appear primed to mimic the chalk in most mock drafts.
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