We’ll know who the next face of the Sixers is in less than a month, but for now, we’re stuck debating. It’s not even Ben Simmons vs. Brandon Ingram at this point as much as it’s Ben Simmons vs. not Ben Simmons. Two college hoops experts – in their own way – gave their differing opinions this morning.
Here’s the positive, from Phil Martelli on WIP this morning:
“I would take Simmons. I think that his passing ability, his play making ability, his physicality for that league. Ingram may end up being the better long-term, but I think at 18 or 19 on a team that is full of kids really, I think you have to take the physical presence and the ability that Simmons has. Simmons has an ability that will move him into the elite in that league, and that is his passing and play making…
From what I understand and I observed as a high-school player, he had tremendous respect for the game and he seemed to be a young guy — even at that time, number one player in high-school — he did it with not the great big ego that can get in the way,. And that the money will get in the way, and the contract will get in the way, and the number one pick will get in the way. I don’t see that, I didn’t see that. So, I think older, stronger is better.”
But LSU beat writer Glen Guilbeau (pronounced Gilbo)* said he doesn’t think Simmons should be the top overall pick. He doesn’t even think he’ll be more than a complementary piece for a team. He said as much on Breakfast on Broad this morning:
“I thought he had a very good motor and seemed motivated for the games. I don’t think that was an issue. For me, he’s more of a specialist player and more of a complementary player than someone who can really take over a team. He’s not a strong inside player like a brute, physical player. And he also does not shoot from the outside… but he’s a great passer and a great scorer, but I just was surprised that he didn’t even try to shoot from the outside…
He would have to go to a team where he can flourish as a complementary player. A team that has a very good center. I think he can develop to be as good as he can be, but not be that type of star. It’s kinda strange to me. Before he ever played he was supposed to be the greatest player, and I just never saw it…
I don’t think he should be the first pick.”
Guilbeau Baggins makes a point here that we haven’t really heard from many people. It’s usually either “Simmons is great” or “Simmons will be a bust.” Guilbeau falls somewhere in the middle, though I don’t know if there’s a GM in basketball who would throw a top overall pick at a guy knowing they’ll just be a complementary player. And the “very good center” line scares me, because it’s just putting more weight on the fragile foot of the shadow of Joel Embiid.
This happens every year. The consensus number one, after the lottery is set, starts being questioned. It happened with Wiggins, he went number one. It happened with Okafor (early consensus #1), he slipped to three. I don’t see a draft where Simmons falls past number two, but if the questions keep coming in, and Bryan Colangelo takes heed, he might swap Simmons and Ingram on his board.
*If he’s anything like the beats here we shouldn’t listen, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.