The 2016 NBA draft was a critical one for the Philadelphia 76ers. As they were moving forward with their ambitious rebuild, they needed another cornerstone to team with Joel Embiid to move forward.
With the first pick in the draft, they found that player. LSU star Ben Simmons was the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft. The Sixers selected Simmons and in the five years since he was picked, he has become a three-time All-Star, a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a legitimate talent in this league.
Despite his offensive struggles, Simmons is still one of the top players from this draft class, and as Bleacher Report does a re-draft from 2016, Simmons is still the top choice with that No. 1 selection:
Yes, Simmons’ unwillingness to even consider shooting outside the paint has crippled the Sixers’ offense on more than one high-profile occasion. His free-throw shooting can be nightmarish, especially when it spiraled to a 34.2 percent mark in the 2021 postseason. But he checks almost every other box.
Simmons is an annual Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He can guard every position. He can end a possession with a rebound, take it coast-to-coast and either hammer the ball home or find the right target for a kickout.
There is not a lot that Simmons can’t do out on the floor. The 6-foot-10 All-Star is a guy who can grab a rebound and immediately start a break where he will either finish it with a dunk or he can kick it out to an open shooter. While the offensive struggles at the free-throw line and the refusal to take a jumper hold him back, there is also much he can do to have a huge impact on winning.
Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey in the gym working on tougher layup packages
Unnamed, small-market team has trade interest in Sixers star Ben Simmons
Charles Bassey, Sixers still having contract negotiations ahead of camp