Simmons Was the Right Pick, But the Sixers Will Still Have a Losing Year
About the only thing that was disappointing Thursday night at the NBA Draft was that the Philadelphia 76ers couldn’t start their perimeter player process.
The Sixers did the absolute right thing in selecting 6’10” Ben Simmons, who projects anywhere on the floor from point guard to power forward. Simmons is a phenomenal, transcendent talent. And don’t worry about his shooting statistics in college. Look at his release. It’s pure. The ball comes off his fingertips like it should. He’s going to grow into a nice shooter in this league because his fundamentals are good. He’s not Nerlens Noel, who has no chance to be a good shooter in this league. Noel shoots the ball as if his left hand is attached to his right and vice-versa.
But speaking of Noel, he now becomes one of six Sixers men who are 6’10” or more: Simmons, Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Dario Saric (if he ever comes to the states), Joel Embiid (if he ever plays) and Richaun Holmes (the guy least likely to get playing time).
Notice there are very few players on the Sixers roster right now who can play on the perimeter and shoot a jump shot that would open up the offense enough to actually utilize these big men. All of a sudden Robert Covington has become Steph Curry, because he’s the only supposed shooter on the roster.
The idea at the NBA Draft was that Bryan Colangelo, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations, would work a trade with the teams that owned the third, fourth and fifth picks in order to land guards Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray or Buddy Hield. Instead, Colangelo got nothing, which means the Sixers will have to play the big-man gambit again this year. That means Colangelo can’t start shaping the Sixers into a well-rounded team that actually wins championships. Expect another losing year and another wait for a draft, which in 2017 will be flush with perimeter players.
Colangelo supposedly offered Noel to the Celtics, along with Covington and the Sixers’ 24th and 26th picks. If I were with the Celtics, I wouldn’t have taken that either. The Sixers apparently coveted Dunn, a slick point guard from Providence, who would have fit perfectly. Who will the Sixers play at point guard now? Your guess is as good as mine. But it can’t be Simmons. Especially not in his first year in the NBA.
Here’s the good part: Interest is way up in the Philadelphia 76ers. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see not just one new exciting player, but two with Embiid. In fact, right now, the interest in the Sixers is higher than, dare I say it, the Philadelphia Eagles?
I never in a million years thought I could write that sentence. But right now it happens to be true.