For the past three years, the Philadelphia 76ers’ franchise has undergone perhaps the most rigid rebuilding process of all-time. No other team had ever been as transparent in their hunt to acquire “assets”, primarily in the form of draft picks, and was willing to lose in order to do so. The Sixers did this by shipping off any player that was not part of their long-term aspirations, and that would bring back worthy compensation. Despite compiling more than 16 picks over the course of three drafts, the Sixers only have three proven (drafted) players remaining on the team: Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Jerami Grant. They have experienced bad luck as well, such as taking an injured Joel Embiid without knowing that he would not hit the court in the following two seasons.
While this might not be where they expected to stand at this point in the process, the outlook of the rebuild could change entirely based on the 2016 NBA Draft. By securing the first-overall pick in the draft lottery last week, the Sixers have the opportunity to choose a player that could alter their franchise. It is almost guaranteed that they will take LSU’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram, but it will not be an easy choice by any means.
Ben Simmons is great at driving to the rim and possesses excellent passing skills. He also was an above-average rebounder in his freshman year which is evident in his eleven rebounds per-game. Many believe he is a once-in-a-lifetime player, such as analyst Paul Hudrick.
“Simmons has the ability to be a generational talent. His skill set is so rare. He’s 6-10 but handles and passes like a guard. His court vision is also off the charts”
-Paul Hudrick, CSN Philadelphia
Brandon Ingram is the other option the Sixers have, and could be just what they need. Last year, the Duke guard stepped his game up, and moved into the speculation at the top of the draft. He worked on his shooting, registering a strong 41% shooting from three, and 44% from the field overall. His long wingspan (7″3) and lanky frame is reminiscent of Kevin Durant, and his abilities back that up.
Ingram averaged 17.3 points and 7 rebounds per-game at Duke.
While many speculate that Simmons is a no-brainer pick, the Sixers have a difficult decision to make. The fact that they are choosing to wait and reveal their choice until they’re on the clock on draft night just makes the situation more murky, and will leave Sixers’ fans on the edge of their seat waiting to discover the future of their franchise.