The 76ers have preached for months that Ben Simmons will be their point guard. Not a point forward – or secondary ball-handler. They told everyone that the 6-foot-10, 240-pounder would be a traditional point guard.
The Sixers are toning down that description now that they are expected to take Washington point guard Markelle Fultz with the first pick of Thursday’s NBA draft.
“I know Coach and I have, probably Coach [Brett Brown] more so than I, have used the terminology 'point guard' for Ben as it relates to Ben Simmons,” said Bryan Colangelo, Sixers president of basketball operations. “The way I like to characterize it and I always fall back to this is [a] primary ball-handler. … I have always said I don’t care what we call him, 'point guard,' 'point forward.' We can call him 'point center.' I don’t care.”
Simmons' athletic ability for a person his size is off the charts. He has the vision and the feel for the game of a point guard. However, there are some concerns. With Simmons lacking a consistent outside shot, teams will lag off on him. Plus, he won't guard opponent point guards, because he's be a defensive liability against them.
Fultz is a solid three-point shooter and can defend opposing point guards.
“I think it’s safe to say we are in the position to draft someone that’s going to complement Ben’s skill set whether he’s a point guard or point forward,” Colangelo said.
He pointed out that power forward Dario Saric and center Joel Embiid are playmakers in the post. Colangelo also said the Sixers want players with diverse skill sets who can play multiple positions.
“I think sometimes we can get carried away with positional names -- one, two, three, four, five,” he said.