Not LSU's Ben Simmons, not Duke's Brandon Ingram, but Kentucky shooting guard Jamal Murray is the right selection for the Sixers with the No. 1 overall pick, according to Wildcats coach John Calipari.
The always entertaining Calipari appeared on ESPNU's College Basketball podcast, and made the case for Murray to be selected by Philadelphia. From ESPN:
When asked why the Sixers should take Murray over Simmons or Ingram, Calipari said, "What does Philadelphia need more than anything else? Someone to make shots and guard play. I am biased. I want my guy. But he can play multiple positions, he can physically step in and play right away. He can play the point. He can score in bunches. You watch Golden State. Who really is their point guard? Whoever has it.''
Calipari continued to say that Murray is "the safest pick. Simmons is really a talent. He's big. He has size, speed and basketball ability and there is LeBronish in him. Brandon is long and can score the ball. He's a very good player. But it should be Jamal or one of those two guys.''
If there's one thing Calipari isn't, it's certainly disloyal to his former players. He did his best to make the case for Murray, but I have a hard time believing he would even buy what he's trying to sell here, especially because it's a hard case to make that Murray is a "safe" choice. A safe pick is someone who can score, run an offense and pass the ball like Simmons can. All Murray can do right now is shoot. That's not to say Murray can't get better in other aspects (he definitely will), but he's got bust potential written all over him. With that said, if the Sixers for some reason had to take someone other than Simmons or Ingram with the first pick, I would definitely consider Murray in that bizarre hypothetical. Good thing they don't have to, however.
Last week, Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley was quoted as saying Murray would be in consideration for the top pick, but he likely means that even less than Calipari does.