ABOVE PHOTO: Duke guard Brandon Ingram, left, is fouled by Oregon forward Dillon Brooks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
The Philadelphia 76ers have a tough choice to make
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
With the first pick in the NBA Draft, the front office of the Philadelphia 76ers has a very difficult choice, to say the least: former LSU star Ben Simmons or former Duke star Brandon Ingram.
The team has to figure out whose going to be the best fit for their team, and while both players are very skilled, the question becomes whether or not they can play with the people currently on the roster.
Simmons might be the closest thing to Magic Johnson that I’ve seen in quite some time. At 6-10, he’s a marvelous ball-handler that has the ability to make guys around him better with his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket.
Among the things I like about Simmons is that he’s a stat-sheet stuffer on both ends of the floor. During his only season at LSU, he averaged 19 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. You could get the feeling that Simmons has the potential to get his share of triple-doubles during the course of his career.
But there’s one problem with Simmons game that is correctable if the coaching staff and the organization has the patience to fix it: his inability to hit the outside shot. While there have been a lot of players who went on to have Hall of Fame careers without having good outside shots initially—most notably Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan—it takes work to change that. But if Simmons develops an outside shot to go with his passing ability and his ability to take the ball to the hoop, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
If the Sixers management is thinking along the lines of the best player available, I suspect that Simmons will be their guy. There’s a lot of upside with him.
But Ingram might be a better fit, especially since he’s been neutral about where he wants to go, unlike Simmons who’s already expressed a desire to play with the Los Angeles Lakers.
With his 6-9 frame, Ingram is an intriguing figure because you are getting a guy with a versatile offensive game. He can take it to the basket by blowing by defenders and he can stick a long-range three-pointer on you. During his brief collegiate career at Duke, he averaged 17. 3 points per game, 6.8 rebounds and two assists per game.
For me, Ingram’s best stat is the 41 percent he shoots from the three-point range. During his time at Duke, he showed an ability to hit long-range shots consistently, which is something the 76ers have needed for quite some time. That’s the good part about Ingram’s upside for the Sixers.
Ingram, who weighs 190 pounds, has a develop his upper body, but he does have 7-foot-3-inch wingspan to give him a chance to defend multiple positions on the floor.
I like Simmons a lot and wouldn’t be mad if the 76ers picked him. But I think Ingram would be a better fit for the Sixers because of his ability to hit the outside shot on a consistent basis.
Besides, the Sixers have their share of 6-10 and 6-11 guys with Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, and Joel Embiid. Again, Simmons playmaking ability jumps out at me the most.
With the 24th or the 26th pick in the first round, I think the Sixers need to find a point guard who can fill it up and score on a regular basis, especially they draft Ingram with the first pick. The other pick could be a solid shooting guard.