The Philadelphia 76ers have a difficult choice to make with the No. 1 overall pick on June 25.
Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram each have a strong case to go first, and the Sixers theoretically have a need for both.
According to Philadelphia Magazine, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo told Howard Eskin on 94 WIP that the Sixers know who they'd take with the first pick if the draft were held today:
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"Do you know, right now, who you are going to take with the #1 pick?" Eskin asked Colangelo.
"Yes," Colangelo responded. "I know what I would do today."
Their decision is subject to change, obviously, as Colangelo admitted. Health, interviews, attitude, work ethic, background information, workouts and a plethora of other factors could sway the Sixers:
"You want to leave your options open right down to the bitter end," Colangelo said. "Any number of things can happen in this process. Players reveal certain things over time. Some of it is based on scouting and watching games, and some of it is based on the interview and meeting process, some of it is based on individual workouts and physical information. You look at everything, you want to comb through all of the data to make sure there is nothing you have not uncovered."
Philadelphia Magazine reported over the weekend that the Sixers are leaning towards Simmons, which makes sense on the surface.
Every indication I get is #sixers have strong preference for Ben Simmons. Still 4 weeks away, but would set him as heavy favorite.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) May 28, 2016
At the same time, Simmons could be a risky pick for a franchise that has sold its fan base on potential and the future over the past few seasons without much to show for -- but only if he doesn't pan out.
On paper, he's the most talented player in the draft and undoubtedly has the highest ceiling. It's just a matter of if he ever actualizes that potential, and how exactly he'll fit in the league if he's unable to develop his jumper (it's unlikely, but possible).
Ingram, on the other hand, fills more of a pressing need (an elite 3-and-D wing) and fits in with the modern NBA, which emphasizes perimeter play, floor-spacing forwards and defensive versatility. He's the safer pick, which could appeal to a Sixers franchise craving a modicum of stability.
It's hard to go wrong either way, and it'll be interesting to see if the Sixers have a change of heart as the draft approaches.