The NBA draft is in eight days, and there’s one juicy storyline percolating: Ben Simmons, the most talented player in the 2016 draft, still hasn’t worked out for the team with the No. 1 pick, the Philadelphia 76ers.
(Some people, ahem, could see this coming last month.)
For three years running, the 76ers have been an embarrassment to the NBA, but that was the plan – suck so badly that you position yourself to acquire the best players entering the league.
The potential price you pay, of course, is becoming such a laughingstock that the star you covet doesn’t want anything to do with you.
Here’s what 76ers GM Bryan Colangelo told the media this week about Simmons, after Duke star Brandon Ingram worked out for Philadelphia:
“As of this moment, not yet,” Colangelo said, “but we are working on it.”
“His agent has decided that is the process they are undertaking,” Colangelo said. “Why don’t you call (Simmons’ agent) Rich Paul and ask him. It has nothing to do with us, and nothing to do with Philadelphia. Everybody goes about it a little differently. Sometimes players decide to workout, sometimes they decide not to workout.”
Hollywood Simmons was a letdown at LSU, unable to get the Tigers to the tournament. No matter. From a talent perspective, Simmons is a SF in the body of a PF with the ability to defend every position. When he adds a reliable jumper in a few years, watch out.
So the 76ers will be faced with a quandary – if the Simmons camp won’t release any medical information, and won’t grant an interview or a workout, do they still draft him? You could, but it might get ugly. Do you force the Lakers, sitting at No. 2, to make a trade?
Drama and the draft … finally!