After much debate, it turns out Ben Simmons has, in fact, worked out for the Philadelphia 76ers.
“This morning we did have an opportunity, very early, to have Ben Simmons come in and work out,” Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo told reporters today at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “[The workout] was important for us, and we were excited to be able to get the opportunity. I think it also speaks to the fact that Ben [Simmons] and his representatives wanted to make sure that we were aware they wanted to be the #1 pick and would like to be considered here in Philadelphia.”
According to Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, the Sixers have informed Simmons’ camp that he will be selected #1 in Thursday’s NBA draft.
“When you see them out on the court, even standing next to Joel Embiid today, you can kind of get a feel for someone’s size,” Colangelo said about the value of a workout. “It’s one more opportunity to look at a few things from a basketball perspective. Study his shooting mechanics, study his athleticism, put him through a couple of drills and tests that give us a chance to evaluate and compare to others that have been in the gym.
“It was helpful,” Colangelo concluded.
The Sixers ran Simmons through a series of drills, including pick and rolls with assistant coaches designed to simulate game action. Simmons did not work out against another draft prospect.
“Very impressive [physically]. He’s all of 6’10”, and 242 pounds. You’re talking about a substantial young man that is going to have an impact physically at this level almost immediately,” Colangelo said about Simmons. “He has an NBA body, he’s got some skills that are definable NBA skills, and when you put that size and skill together it’s generally a pretty good package.”
Colangelo said young players are leaving the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine with a positive impression about the Sixers’ future.
“They come in, they see the people that are here, they feel the commitment from the coaches, get a chance to spend some time with Brett Brown and feel his passion,” Colangelo said. “There’s an opportunity here for these young players to come in and be a part of something and be a part of a growth process that we’re excited about.”
Colangelo would not confirm that they have given a promise to Simmons’ camp.
Ben Simmons has been the presumptive #1 pick for weeks, and it appears it will be final in just a little more than 48 hours.
Sixers talking trade
Colangelo also noted that the Sixers are in active trade discussions with ‘5, 6, or 7’ teams, while having casual conversations with roughly another 10 more.
He specifically mentioned trading into the top-8 as something they’re looking into.
“We would like to, and I’ve been pretty consistent about that. If it becomes available we’ll certainly do that,” Colangelo said about acquiring another pick. “We’ve kind of identified about 6 or 7 players that we would like to see [in Philadelphia].”
According to Colangelo, they are still working on trying to determine whether all of their big men can co-exist. The Sixers currently have three natural centers, Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid, on their roster.
“We’re still working on that every day. We’re not going to make a bad deal so we’re going to do everything we can to make the right choice if we decide to ultimately move one,” Colangelo said about his big men. “We’ll try to make the right deal for the organization.”
Earlier in the day, reports came out of CSN New England that the Sixers and Celtics were involved in talks, with the Sixers interested in obtaining Providence point guard Kris Dunn with the pick.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.