Landing the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft was only the beginning for the Sixers.
Now comes five weeks of evaluation, research and scouting to determine the best talent at the coveted top selection. For the first time in 20 years, they have free rein of the entire draft board.
“This is a massive decision,” head coach Brett Brown said Friday following a pre-draft workout. “It comes with a lot of responsibility. It will receive the time that is required.”
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This draft is dominated by two players, Ben Simmons from LSU and Brandon Ingram from Duke. The Sixers have hours upon hours of game film for both. The staff has been scouting them at length, breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the two forwards in comprehensive reports.
There are the numbers. Simmons averaged a well-rounded 19.2 points (56.0 percent from the field), 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists while being able to run the floor. He only shot 1 for 3 from three the entire season and stands to improve on defense.
Ingram emerged as a top prospect over this past season. He posted 17.3 points (44.2 percent from the field, 41.0 percent from three), 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists for the Blue Devils. Ingram, 18, has to develop an NBA body.
But those are just the basic pieces of information. In addition to the knowledge they gain from their interviews with the prospects, the Sixers will be digging deep into their backgrounds to gain insight into character, work ethic and other personality traits that play into the decision. Brown already has familiarity with Simmons. Brown coached Simmons' father in Australia.
“It’s calling coaches, calling high school coaches, AAU coaches, anybody you can get your hands on,” Vince Rozman, director of basketball operations/scouting innovation, said. “We also have a lot of data guys looking into the numbers and how these guys project. We try to hit it from all angles.”
Those personal assessments carry weight just like stats. The Sixers will look at the total package when making their selection on June 23.
“It all factors in,” Brown said. “The research nowadays is extensive. The consumption, the availability of information is extensive. It’s really well documented nowadays where not too much is slipping by. .... We weigh it all up.”