The Sixers made it official on Thursday evening, as they selected Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Simmons is the third top overall pick in franchise history, following Doug Collins (1973) and Allen Iverson (1996). He immediately becomes the centerpiece of the restructuring Sixers, who have an incredibly bright future thanks largely to the groundwork of former GM Sam Hinkie.
“It honestly feels like all of the pressure just has hopped off of me,” Simmons said after his selection. “Now I know where I’m going to be, I know where I’m headed and know that I can really start working on what I need to work on for the team.”
Simmons will join a young core in Philadelphia that already includes Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor. As the focal point of a young Sixers squad looking to climb back to contention, Simmons has his work cut out for him.
“Everything,” he replied when asked what he needed to work on to prepare for play in Philadelphia. “From eating right to getting my body right for 82 games, to dribbling, to shooting, ball-handling. I think everything needs to be worked on.”
Despite the work ahead of him, Simmons is stoked to be a Sixer.
“I’m happy to be part of the [Sixers] family now. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. They’re great coaches and great people.”
After three straight seasons of struggle, the selection of Simmons signifies the beginning of a new era in Sixers basketball.