76ers 2016 NBA Draft Rumors: Latest Buzz, Speculation Around 1st-Round Picks

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

LSU's Ben Simmons walks down the court late in the second half while the College of Charleston secures the win during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at TD Arena, Monday Nov. 30, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The College of Charleston went on to win 70-58.  (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Mic Smith/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, and Bryan Colangelo, the team's president of basketball operations, already knows what he plans to do with the selection on June 23, with Ben Simmons widely expected to be the franchise's choice.

Continue for updates.

Simmons Reportedly Set to Land in Philly

Tuesday, June 21

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com, citing league sources, reported that the 76ers told Simmons the franchise would select him with the first overall pick.

Colangelo Comments on Simmons, Potentially Trading Up in 1st Round

Tuesday, June 21

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer shared Colangelo's comments regarding Simmons after the prospect's visit with the franchise:

Keith Pompey @PompeyOnSixers

Bryan Colangelo on Ben Simmons https://t.co/edeZanPKh4

Colangelo also told reporters that the team is "evaluating what might be there in the middle teens" in regard to moving up with the 24th and 26th picks of the draft, adding that the team would "like to move into the top eight."

Simmons Meets with 76ers

Tuesday, June 21

Pompey reported that Simmons worked out for the 76ers on Tuesday morning. Pompey previously reported on June 14 that "unless something changes," Simmons wouldn't work out for the 76ers, as he "doesn't plan on working out for NBA teams" during the run-up to the draft.

The 76ers later shared photos of Simmons' workout:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

Inside today's workout with @BenSimmons25 [ 📷 » https://t.co/hFjA2cgwxI ] https://t.co/NAyViCqnBN

Simmons later shared one of those photos on Instagram, saying "Trust the process."

Simmons had his first face-to-face with the 76ers on June 16, according to ESPN's Marc Stein, who added that the team had all of its "key people" on hand when it had dinner with Simmons and agent Rich Paul. 

The 76ers were "impressed" with the 20 pounds of muscle Simmons has added since the end of his lone season at LSU and viewed the meeting as the start of "building a relationship" with the player who is "strongly" expected to be selected by Philadelphia, per Stein.

Simmons' Agent Reportedly Planning for Philly

Tuesday, June 7

Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times reported on June 7 that Paul "has been preparing for his client to go to Philadelphia from the moment" the 76ers landed the top selection.

Moore, citing a source "close to" Simmons, reported on June 2 that Simmons "has no issue with playing for [the 76ers]."

Colangelo Has Preference with No. 1 Overall Pick

Tuesday, May 31

Colangelo told Howard Eskin of 94 WIP (h/t Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com) he knows what he would do with the pick if the draft occurred "today," although he is not ready to reveal the choice:

You want to leave your options open right down to the bitter end. 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.

Colangelo also made it clear he couldn't announce the pick ahead of time even if he wanted to: "In the event of a draft pick you cannot publicly state who you are going to select prior to the commissioner walking up on stage and making that announcement. Even if we were set in stone on our decision, we'd be prohibited by league rules to do so in terms of telling people."

76ers Will Have to Choose Between Simmons, Ingram

Simmons and Duke Blue Devils forward Brandon Ingram are widely regarded as the draft's top two prospects, and Bodner reported Saturday the Sixers are leaning heavily toward Simmons.

The 76ers have a desperate need for backcourt players, but the 6'10" Simmons may very well be their best option due to an all-around game that sees him excel as a scorer, passer and defender.

If Philly selects him, he will join a frontcourt logjam that already includes Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, a potentially returning-from-injury Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, should he make the leap to the NBA from his Turkish team.

In order to create space for Simmons, it was reported by ESPN's Chad Ford (h/t Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers) that the Sixers may be willing to trade either Okafor or Noel for some guard help.

Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and two steals per game in his only season with the Tigers, and he would be a potential game-changer for a 76ers team that hasn't won more than 19 games in a season since 2012-13.

The 19-year-old Australian may not fit precisely what Philadelphia needs from a positional perspective, but he has the tools needed to be a perennial All-Star, and it would be a shocking and potentially damaging decision if the 76ers decided to pass on him in favor of a guard.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.


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