Ben Simmons will meet the Los Angeles Lakers next week for an interview and pre-draft workouts, according to sources close to the organization.
Though most mock drafts project Simmons going to Philadelphia 76ers, who own the first pick in the forthcoming NBA Draft, it’s too early to rule out the possibility of the Australian prodigy wearing Purple & Gold next season.
Ben Simmons destined to be a Laker?
Ever since the Lakers won the No. 2 pick in the Draft Lottery, there has been chatter about Simmons forcing his way to Los Angeles due to the large sums of endorsement money on the table, not to mention that the LSU forward grew up a diehard fan of Magic Johnson. Also Simmons’ friendship with D’Angelo Russell could prove to be a telling factor when both Sixers and Lakers are closer to making their decision.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, the Lakers will work out Simmons, Brandon Ingram and other draft prospects middle of next week prior to interviewing them. Last year, the Lakers worked out their fair share of prospects before finalizing on D’Angelo Russell on draft night.
LakersNation reports that “Dragan Bender, Kris Dunn, Buddy Hield, and Jaylen Brown could all be brought in so the Lakers can get an up-close look at them. Even though they may not be considered for the second overall pick, the Lakers could always make a trade and find themselves in a different draft position.”
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak reckons that there’s not too much of talent drop off after Simmons and Ingram, contrary to what many scouts believe. “One is always better than two. I hear what you’re saying, but one is always better than two. If you’re one, you can get anybody you want; if you’re two, you can get anybody you want — minus one. I’m not sure there’s as dramatic a cliff as people think between two and three. Any way you look at it, we feel we’ll get an excellent player at two,” Kupchak told NBA.com’s David Aldridge this week.
Brian Shaw to overlook workouts
With Luke Walton embroiled in a gruelling Western Conference Finals series with the Golden State Warriors, associate head coach Brian Shaw is expected to overlook the pre-draft workouts until the new head coach joins the team at the end of the ongoing NBA Playoffs.
Earlier this week, Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo said “some people like to poison the well” and that Simmons would be comfortable playing in Philadelphia next year, contrary to earlier reports. “We’ve got good relationships with the agent (Rich Paul) and with the family because (coach) Brett Brown has known Ben Simmons’ father for years,” Colangelo told Bleacher Report.
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