The 2016 NBA Draft is exactly one month from today. Between now and then, a new rumor will start up just about every day regarding the top two picks, held by the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.
All reports to this point have indicated that the Sixers are leaning heavily towards drafting Ben Simmons with the top pick, which would leave Brandon Ingram available for the Lakers to draft with the No. 2 pick.
While it all seems very cut and dry, TNT’s David Aldridge reports that there are still plenty of questions left to be answered in the month leading up to the draft.
One of those questions is whether or not general manager Mitch Kupchak will look to trade the pick for established talent to help expedite the rebuild. According to Aldridge, that is an avenue the Lakers are not expected to explore, especially after all the angst they had to go through to acquire it.
As to what type of player the Lakers will take, Kupchak has made it clear that the Lakers will not take another guard.
“If you look at our depth chart, you can make an argument that we need a player in the frontcourt,” Kupchak said. “We need a big. Jordan [Clarkson] is a free agent and we’d like to sign him. D’Angelo [Russell], we’re very high on, and we have Lou Williams. I think we’re more set in the backcourt than the frontcourt. Two days after the Lottery, that’s where we are. In six weeks, we’ll see.”
It was interesting to see that Kupchak specifically said, “We need a big.” A lot of people will automatically assume that the Lakers might take a look at Croatian big man Dragan Bender, who is widely believed to be the No. 3 prospect in this draft class. But Kupchak has been adamant that Los Angeles needs a frontcourt player, which Simmons and Ingram both are.
It is also noted in the report that people around the league expect the draft to really begin with the third pick, expecting Simmons and Ingram to be the top two picks.
Aldridge also reports that despite the buzz around the notion that Philadelphia will select Simmons with the No. 1 pick, that decision has yet to be made.
Whether they take LSU freshman Ben Simmons or Duke freshman Brandon Ingram is up in the air, but they will, barring some incredible turn, take one of those two.
The Sixers, like any other team, will obviously do their due diligence, but there has been an extraordinary amount of chatter around the idea of them drafting Simmons that it would be surprising if they elect not to.
For the Lakers, the chances of Ingram becoming the team’s newest starting small forward seem likely as well. With Aldridge reporting that the Lakers are not expected to trade the pick, it appears they will be adding one of the top prospects in the draft a month from now.
For the full report from David Aldridge, click here.