The Draft Lottery
Through the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery, Philadelphia 76ers fans were finally granted their wishes! ‘The Process’ finally brought the first overall pick in the draft to Philadelphia!
It took long enough for 76ers fans to feel happy about something. So in a way, I guess you could say that ‘The Process’ did it’s job.
Well, now the 76ers hold the first pick in the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft. Philadelphia finally has the chips in their corner.
Who do 76ers fans want in the draft?
I’m serious, has any analyst really looked at what the fans want? Not really, but they should be asking who they want. After all, these were the same fans who have endured through the worst era in Philadelphia basketball history.
So if nobody else will provide 76ers fans with an opportunity to speak their mind on a media outlet, I guess I’ll do it!
What do 76ers fans think of the future of their team?
The Possibility Of A Trade
Let’s get something out of the way, the number one pick Philadelphia’s pick and not a single offer by any team is changing that fact. Philadelphia earned the number one overall pick and to trade away this pick would be the biggest disservice to fans.
Don’t even mention the idea of a trade to 76ers fans, just the thought of a trade infuriates them. Who could blame them? After years of constant struggle, it had to be for something. Trading away the first overall pick is not happening, or at least not in the eyes of 76ers fans.
Personally, I wouldn’t be so sure simply because we still have no clue where this team is headed. Most 76ers didn’t think Nerlens could be on the chopping block, but as it appears, he is. So with that being said, who in the world really knows in what direction the 76ers are headed?
In any case, 76ers fans hate the idea of a trade unless they get something big and that’s where Jahlil Okafor comes into all of this. The 76ers won’t trade away their first overall pick, but they are willing to trade away their young big man in exchange for another draft pick.
Who could be possible recipients of Jahlil Okafor? Only one team really appears as if they can offer something halfway decent and that is the Boston Celtics.
To my surprise, most 76ers fans didn’t mind the idea of Jahlil Okafor being dealt to Boston to get another early draft pick. In fact, most of them genuinely welcomed the idea of Joel Embiidbecoming the starting center and Nerlens Noel as the starting power forward.
As I tried to figure out the answer, some fans brought up a point I never even thought of.Nerlens Noel has been extremely loyal to the city. One Philly fan even showed me this video from two years ago when Nerlens Noel was drafted.
This video above perfectly symbolizes why Nerlens Noel should stay in Philadelphia, from the beginning he has been loyal to himself through his ups and downs, and he has been loyal to his fans even when it’s been tough.
Joel Embiid has also seemingly caught the hearts of Philly fans and it’s strange how he’s gone about doing so. In case you can’t recall, Joel Embiid was at one point drinking shirley temples and looked to be at his worst physical condition that he had even been in during his whole life. Some fans told me that they hated him until this past season.
Their views on Joel Embiid changed when he began regularly attending 76ers games and began getting very involved with the team. He began shooting around with the team and could be seen on a near daily basis at the practice gym working with Richaun Holmes and Nerlens Noel.
Joel Embiid’s work ethic changed entirely in the course of one season and this is why fans have strangely started galvanizing around Joel Embiid. Philadelphia fans harken back to when Embiid was being compared to Hakeem Olajuwon and they think he can still be the same player that he was in college if he can continue to work as hard as he has during the past season.
But I’ll be honest when I say this, there was a specific thing that turned Philadelphia fans back onto the side of Joel Embiid. It was this picture that he posted to his Instagram six months ago, where he looked a little bit different since we last saw him in Kansas.
So since trading Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel is a no-go for Philadelphia fans, it only leaves Jahlil Okafor to the trade rumors. Fans have collectively come up with an idea in their heads; trade Jahlil to the Celtics and acquire assets.
To be honest, I completely agree with them. From what we’ve seen, Jahlil has been a little bit of a fighter both on and off the court. You all know exactly what I mean when I say that, and apparently Philadelphia fans hardly want to put up with his attitude on the team.
Not to add the fact that he was a decent defender even when he was at his best and Nerlens and Joel are better defenders. So the question is, why keep Jahlil around?
He’s a young center who looks to have a huge upside, in addition to that, we know that the Celtics are looking for a true center and Jahlil might happen to be the kind of guy that they need.
This trade could logically help everybody, so why not do it? The fans are committed to Joel and Nerlens and Jahlil seems to be a tad of a distraction in the locker room, so maybe it’s time that the 76ers listen to their fans.
The fans want what’s best for their team, and to most of them, trading Jahlil Okafor for assets will help build a better core for the future and will help unite the team through their two big men. Not three, but two.
So, to summarize, the majority of Philadelphia 76ers fans want Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid to stay since their work ethic has been downright amazing. Jahlil, on the other hand, is a valuable trade asset, and it might be time to trade him away.
Ben Simmons Or Brandon Ingram?
This is the big one, the rumor to end all rumors! What did Philadelphia fans say when I asked about Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram? You would think with this being such a huge decision that fans would be split right?
To my dismay, Philadelphia fans have their minds set on their next superstar, Ben Simmons. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Ben Simmons should be the future of this team.
Now, I’m not kidding, only one of the eight Philadelphia fan pages that I talked to wanted Brandon Ingram. But the question is why? Doesn’t Brandon Ingram fit the current system better since Ingram has the outside shot that Simmons doesn’t have? Well, here’s what Philadelphia fans told me.
“I absolutely think we should take Simmons. Look at Leonard. He couldn’t shoot the ball well. Now he’s a great shooter. Simmons is too good of a player/athlete to pass on. You take him and surround him with shooters and our big men and we have a full team” – @76erz
“He’s (Simmons) the overall best player in the draft, has the highest ceiling to be a once in a decade player. Cannot pass on him.” – @FlyEaglesFly
“Ben Simmons every day of the week and twice on Sunday! He’s the guy who projects to have highest possible ceiling of any prospect in the draft. One could legitimately argue that Ingram was not even best player on Duke last yr. Also, I think Ben Simmons has franchise player potential written all over him.” – @PTTalk247
There you have it, those are just a couple of a good replies that I received from them. It’s weird to me since Simmons doesn’t seem to fit into the 76ers in a good way right now. But 76ers fans disagreed. In fact, one of them even told me that it isn’t Ben who doesn’t fit into the system, but rather that it’s Jahlil who doesn’t fit into the system.
I can’t entirely disagree with that logic, the roster is already loaded with three big men, so why build around one that has a tendency to be lackluster on defense and a liability on offense infrequently? Exactly, it’s a bad idea when you really think about it.
Also, in case you can’t recall, the roster is entirely changing this offseason. Dario Saric, who was at one point a lottery talent, is finally joining the roster after being drafted in 2014 by the Orlando Magic.
So it may be unwarranted to say that “Ben Simmons doesn’t fit the roster very well.” He might by the time this offseason is over. For all that we know, they’ll bring in a new point guard and Dario Saric will be a pleasant surprise.
Now, for those of you who may be concerned about Ben Simmons and his attitude towards the city of Philadelphia, there is no need to worry. At least if you’re a fan.
Not a single person in Philadelphia seems to be the slightest bit concerned that Ben Simmons might’ve wanted to go to Los Angeles. I made the comparison to Isiah Thomas and the Pistons, he originally didn’t want to go to Detroit but he went on to become one of the most legendary Pistons of all time.
Since Ben can come in and immediately become one of the top scorers on the team, people think that he’ll be happy with his position in the organization and that he’ll love being apart of the biggest turnaround in NBA history.
On the contrary, Brandon Ingram is the outsider in all of this. Most 76ers fans and even reporters don’t think that he’ll be drafted by Philly. Only one of the eight Philadelphia fan pages made a case for Brandon Ingram.
“I keep going back & forth with it.. If we go Simmons, nobody will be mad but that means we’ll have to trade a big trade (Nerlens or Jah, most likely Jah which I hate). I personally say we take Ingram. He fits the squad that we have in place now better than Simmons. He’s the exact type of player we need, a playmaker who can create his own shot.” – @Inside76ers
Sure, Brandon Ingram can come in and fit the immediate system of Ish Smith, Nik Stauskas, and Robert Covington, but the roster is going to change a lot in the upcoming offseason. For example, some people brought up the idea of letting Ish walk since he’ll become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Bringing in somebody like Norris Cole could be an option off the bench as well.
The point being is that if the 76ers astound us all by drafting Brandon Ingram, it would be a bad decision since the roster is going to change a ton in the offseason. Fitting the current roster is not and should not be the goal right now.
Fans desperately want and expect Ben Simmons to be the man to be drafted. He has the highest upside of anyone in this whole draft class and can change the culture in Philadelphia. He very well might be the next LeBron James and it has to be difficult for the 76ers to pass up on a once in a generation talent like that. Sure, Brandon Ingram can fit the current team, but with the 76ers coming off a ten win season, why would you want to fit that model?
A Chance To Turn It Around
The Philadelphia 76ers have a real chance to turn around their fortunes and turn the 76ers back into the playoff team that they once were. One man can turn the fortunes of not just the team, but the city around. Ben Simmons can make the 76ers into true playoff contenders with some help.
It should be no surprise to anyone that the 76ers were young last year, so bringing in some veterans to grow with the young players should be a goal by the time the offseason rolls around.
This isn’t that hard in the mind of 76ers fans, don’t trade Nerlens Noel, draft Ben Simmons, develop Joel Embiid, and consider trading Jahlil Okafor. In all fairness, I don’t disagree with them. Sure, turning around an NBA train wreck like the 76ers isn’t as easy as it sounds, but Bryan Colangelo has a pretty simple job thanks to Sam Hinkie.
The 76ers need to take action, and be smart. Drafting Ben Simmons and retaining Nerlens Noel is what is best for this franchise, it is not rocket science. Bring in some veterans, and the team is set for a return to the playoffs in a short amount of time.
Though, 76ers fans aren’t too confident since Bryan Colangelo is a circus and we really don’t know what direction he’s going to take this team. Hopefully, he won’t mess up this rebuild that fans waited for for so long.
Philadelphia has a chance to become a zero to hero story in the course of this offseason, but why I should tell you this? Why not let 76ers fans tell you the way they feel.
“I’m so happy to have something to look forward to finally. In a weird way, getting the first pick this year made tanking the last 3 worth it. Can’t wait to see what happens & looking forward to the very near future!” – @Inside76ers
“I would just like to say the most important thing is patience. We have many great players and will add many more this year and don’t rush into anything just let the process fall into place” – @76erz
You heard it, let the process fall into place. Don’t mess this up and make the decisions that even the fans know are the correct ones. This rebuild is not that hard, just listen to your fans, that’s all you have to do Bryan.
Irving Mejia (Follow me on Twitter: @ismejia48)
Spark Sports NBA & NFL Analyst
In case you’ve made it this far, I want to give a huge shoutout to all the 76ers that gave their opinions to me on Twitter. Please give all these wonderful fan pages a follow, they’re the real Philly fans who will still be there when the 76ers make the playoffs. You were all extremely important and this article could not have been completed without your opinion! Thank you for your contribution!
76erz – @76erz
PhillySportsTalk247 – @PTTalk247
Inside 76ers – @Inside76ers
Philly Forever – @FlyEaglesFly
Sixers Nation – @PHI_76ersNation
Philly Sports – @PHLAnon
Philly Sports – @MadeForPhilly