June 01, 2016
Is Brandon Ingram still in the running for the No. 1 overall pick?
It’s hard to know with 100 percent certainty, but it sure sounds like Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo knows which way he’s leaning. And most people seem to think that is toward LSU freshman Ben Simmons, but not everyone. Here is who the various mock drafts are projecting at the top:
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown knows him from his days coaching in Australia. Brown desperately needs a playmaker, and new GM Bryan Colangelo wants a player who can contribute right now. Ingram will be tempting. They need shooting, and Ingram could really fit the bill. But right now, the odds are on Simmons going No. 1.
Early indications suggest that the Sixers have a pretty strong preference towards Simmons with the No. 1 pick. There's still plenty of time until the draft, so something could happen to change that.
The Sixers would be betting on upside more than fit, and that's what most teams should do with the No. 1 pick. I like Ingram more, and he's probably the safer pick to turn into an All-Star—more natural scorer, better shooter, better defender—but Simmons has a combination of size and ability that give him the chance of being revolutionary. For a team that just spent three years going through hell to get this pick, it may make sense to bet big.
While I like how Ingram would fit with the current Sixers’ core, I still think that if you are in the top spot, you take the best player available, and that’s Simmons. His problems with perimeter shooting are well-known, and his demeanor down the stretch last season didn’t win him any fans, but he is a unique talent with his ability to see the floor, handle the ball, and pass for his size.
Philadelphia's need for scoring gives Ingram the edge over Ben Simmons in what many teams consider a close call for who goes No. 1. Ingram was smooth as a freshman, with enough ball-handling skills to create his own shot on the perimeter or play above the rim when he moves inside. Even with rough patches in his transition to college, the NBA finds it easy to envision a small forward with great size who will need to get stronger as he gets older. Ingram does not turn 19 until September, just before training camp. "You can't expect anything out of him next year," a GM said. "He's so weak it's crazy."
Others: Gary Parrish, CBS Sports
There is obviously much less consensus toward the end of the first round, but a few familiar names pop up in multiple mocks:
Yeah, the height. But Ulis is such a great leader that Kentucky's John Calipari called him the best floor general he has ever coached, a list that includes Derrick Rose, John Wall and Brandon Knight. Ulis was also third in the nation in assist-to-turnover two seasons ago and first in the SEC in 2015-16. NBA teams liked him as a freshman and then really liked him this season in an expanded role after Andrew Harrison went to the pros along with two other members of the Wildcats backcourt.
With the Sixers hopefully finding their centerpiece, they’re likely to start looking to fill out their roster. Ulis, despite his size, would give Philadelphia steady point guard play, even if his size might limit that to a back up role.
Others: Draft Express
My take: For most of this process, Ulis has been projected to go higher than the Sixers’ pick. He’s really small and that limits his ceiling (especially on the defensive end), but Ulis can run my offense any day of the week. He was the best point guard in college hoops this season.
Murray has bust potential, but he also carries some of the ingredients to be a star at the next level if he develops. That's exactly the type of player the Sixers need to find right now.
Dejounte Murray has great size, and even if he can't shoot, he can get to the rim at will, so that's a start. (He's also repped by Klutch Sports, so if the Sixers are looking to win over Ben Simmons and Rich Paul, maybe a first-round promise to Murray will help?)
Yes, Murray may give Sixers’ fans flashbacks to Tony Wroten, and there are a good deal of similarities, both good and bad. Murray has good size for the point guard position, sees the floor well, and is a high-level athlete. He isn’t much of a shooter, and his decision-making could be mind-boggling. Murray could be a disaster at the NBA level, but if brought along slowly, he could turn into a good NBA point guard.
My take: I might look elsewhere in this spot. Nothing against Murray, but the Sixers haven’t had much success with point guards who can’t shoot as of late.
McCaw has developed into an interesting prospect over the past few years, and his combination of size, athleticism, improving outside shot, and play making would fill an area of need for the Sixers on the perimeter.
The 76ers need wings, and after McCaw's performance last Friday at the combine, I think he has a shot at going here. He's not only a good athlete who can defend multiple positions, but he's also a terrific passer and an emerging shooter.
With their third pick in the first round, Philadelphia could look to add some depth on the wings, especially after passing on Ingram at number one. Richardson came along late for Syracuse last season, but he showed in the NCAA Tournament that he can use his athletic ability well to score in a variety of ways. This late in the first round, he’s a solid pick for the Sixers to develop over the next few years.
-- Others: Vecenie, Parrish
My take: Richardson put together a strong NCAA Tournament, orchestrating Syracuse’s push to the Final Four. Still, he only shot 39 percent on two-point field goals.
Bembry has the best hair, he was one of the stars of the combine scrimmages in Chicago, and he had one of the best all-around games in the country last year (17.5 ppg, 7.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists). He played at St. Joes, too. Just keep him in Philly. It feels right. He would be twice as competent as almost any wing the Sixers have had for the past three years.
My take: It would be pretty cool if Bembry stuck around in Philly. I don’t think he’ll last until 24, though. Atlanta (21) is a spot where his name keeps popping up in mocks.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann