Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers would fit hand and glove, according to the Australian prodigy’s high school coach.
Kevin Goorjian, the coach of Simmons during the LSU star’s days Box School High School in Melbourne, Australia, has no doubt that his former pupil would embrace the pressure of playing in a major market team such as Lakers.
Ben Simmons to Lakers?
“If he ended up in LA, that would be just fantastic. But wherever he ends up, he is going to make an impact and help a NBA team. I believe he is going to be an All-Star. I don’t know of any Australians on All-Star teams,” Goorjian told Omnisport on Tuesday.
Though the Sixers are likely to draft Simmons with the No. 1 overall pick, there’s a case to be made for Brandon Ingram going to Philadelphia. Goorjian reckons that Sixers would regret passing up on Simmons. “I’m totally behind that. He is the No. 1 pick. It’s clear.”
In fact, the coach went as far as saying that the GM that passes up on Simmons ought to be fired. “There was a quote that came up that if you get the No. 1 pick and you don’t take Simmons you should be fired,” opined Goorjian.
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Best Australian player ever?
Prior to Simmons, Andrew Bogut and Kyrie Irving were the last two Australians to be drafted No. 1 overall by Milwaukee Bucks (2005) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2011) respectively. Though Bogut and Irving went on to achieve considerable success in the NBA, Goorjian is convinced that Simmons would do Australia proud. “He is going to be the best basketballer Australia has produced.”
“He is going to be special. He just has to stay injury-free and keep developing,” concluded the high school coach of Ben Simmons.
Last week, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said that the team is desperate to improve its frontcourt after drafting Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell over the past few years. “If you look at our depth chart, you can make an argument that we need a player in the frontcourt. We need a big. Jordan is a free agent and we’d like to sign him.
“D’Angelo, 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,” Kupchak told David Aldridge of NBA.com in an interview.
Ben Simmons has all the makings of a franchise player. If scouts are to be believed, the Sixers or the Lakers are about to get themselves a perennial all-star.