76ers take Australian Simmons with top pick of Draft
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Philadelphia 76ers added to their youthful core with a versatile big man by taking Australian Ben Simmons from Louisiana State University with the first overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday.
The pick set the tone for a decidedly international night as a record 14 foreign-born players were selected in the first of the two-round draft at the Barclays Center, topping the previous record of 12 in 2013.
The 19-year-old forward, an excellent rebounder who thrives in transition as a scorer or passer, joins a Philadelphia team that finished last overall with a 10-71 record during the NBA's 2015-16 season.
Simmons, who becomes just the second Australian to be taken with the top pick after the Utah Jazz selected Andrew Bogut in 2005, averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for LSU in his only college season.
"It's a weight off my chest," said the 6-10, 240-pound Simmons, who was widely expected to go first overall.
"I've been looking forward to this day for a while, so I'm glad I've made history, not only for myself but my family and Australian basketball."
The Los Angeles Lakers had the second pick, the first of their post-Kobe Bryant era, and took shooting guard Brandon Ingram from Duke University.
Ingram, a good passer and excellent three-point shooter at 6-9 with keen court awareness, scored 17.3 points a game for Duke along with 6.8 rebounds on average. Continued...