Big Ben Simmons rings some bells
He's regarded as the best young player in the world, but 19-year-old Australian phenomenon Ben Simmons looks set to join the worst team in the NBA.
Simmons has long been regarded as the likely No.1 pick in this year's draft - to be held on June 23 - and that selection will be made by the Philadelphia 76ers after yesterday's draft lottery.
The 76ers, coached by former Australian men's coach Brett Brown, finished a clear last this season with a woeful 10-72 record.
That took the team's record to a miserable 47-199 in the past three seasons, but importantly put the francise in the pole position to draw out the No.1 marble.
"We're excited with the position we are now in," said the US-born Brown, who coached numerous NBL teams and the Boomers at the 2012 Olympics.
Simmons had a standout season with Louisana State University, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists a game.
He did draw some criticism though, with commentators suggesting he lacked a good outside shot and didn't demand the ball when games were on the line. But at 208cm, and with exceptional athleticism and ball handling, his skills have already been compared to stars including LeBron James and Lamar Odom.
"I think Ben would fit around any foundation," Brown told NBA Australia.
"People recognise (as they should) the talent that he brings to the table. His gifts are obvious. His improvement level in different areas is obvious, too. You see a huge upside in him, with the work that I know he's willing to put in."
The only challenger to the No.1 selection appears to be Duke University forward Brandon Ingram.
He has what Simmons doesn't - a good outside shot. Ingram knocked down 41% of his three-point attempts last college season, but is regarded as being too slight to take on the NBA's power forwards at this point.
If the 76ers did choose the young Aussie, he would join an emerging squad that contains three of the NBA's brightest young stars - Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Jahlil Okafor.
But if they went for Ingram, the LA Lakers, which ended up with the No.2 pick after the lottery, would almost certainly swoop on Simmons.
The Lakers have appointed former Golden State assistant Luke Walton as their new head coach, and the hype around Simmons would fill some of the void left by the retirement of Kobe Bryant.