Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo addressed the media today after the team’s first publicly announced pre-draft workout. He recently just returned from a West Coast trip where he saw a handful of top-10 prospects participate in agent run workouts, and noted the team is still considering six or seven players for the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
“I think there’s some guards that you have to look at that would dramatically improve our guard play, and across the board you’ve got six or seven guys we’re still looking at and considering for three,” Colangelo said. “What happens at one and two is gonna determine how that list gets reduced.”
One player that could certainly improve the team’s guard play but could be off the board prior to the team’s selection is UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. The 19-year-old’s name has been linked to the Lakers, who hold the No. 2 overall pick, for some time now. ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported that Ball’s representatives would still potentially be interested in holding a pre-draft workout for the Sixers, and Colangelo made it clear the team would like for that to come together.
“It’s something that we’d like to arrange with Lonzo,” Colangelo stated when asked to address the report. “We certainly have an interest in meeting and talking to all top 10 prospects. We’ve had a chance to meet with several of them already.”
Outside of Ball and expected top pick Markelle Fultz, Colangelo said the team has either scheduled or already conducted workouts with a majority of the top 10 prospects in this draft class. He would not disclose those names.
The impact of Ben Simmons could play a particularly important factor in deciding who the team is going to select as the team tries to weigh fit versus selecting the best player available. Colangelo feels confident that the Sixers may be able to kill two birds with one stone because of how high they sit in this year’s draft order.
“Talent versus fit is something that we clearly always look at, but when you’re a young team at the stage where we are, you can’t necessarily choose one or the other,” Colangelo said. “Right now what we’re looking at is a situation that the group of players who are available to us at No. 3 will be able address both with the same decision, but knowing that we’ve got a couple more things in place as opposed to last year where we didn’t have Ben Simmons and we weren’t sure what Joel [Embiid] was going to be -- we’ve got more knowns than unknowns -- and I think that’s helpful in assessing where we want to go with this.”
Colangelo made sure to outline the type of players that would compliment Ben Simmons’ skill set, assuming he is the primary ball handler going into next season.
“I think good basketball players and good decision makers and guys that get out and run and can finish in transition and shooting obviously would all be things that complement Ben Simmons,” Colangelo said. “Defensively we probably want to put guys around him that can guard the point guard in certain cases. In some cases Ben will be able to guard the point guard and in some cases you’ll want him guarding off the ball.”
At this point the Sixers seem very comfortable with where they sit in the draft, but they’re certainly open to moving the pick if the value they receive in return is too good to pass up. Colangelo mentioned the team has had some “interesting” conversations about the third overall pick.
“I think that should we move or should a transaction come up that gives us the chance to perhaps increase what impact No. 3 could have in terms of its return I think we will look at it,” Colangelo said. “There’s some discussions that have been fairly interesting, and its not that were motivated to move it. It’s just that time of year where you find out what you have and you explore all options.”