What If Ben Simmons Falls to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2?

With the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers will likely select whichever franchise-altering prospect the Philadelphia 76ers don’t: Louisiana State University’s Ben Simmons or Duke’s Brandon Ingram. 

Either way, they’ll acquire a building block, someone potentially talented enough to lead the organization to sustained championship contention for the next decade. 

Based on their projected strengths and weaknesses, both prospects are compatible with Los Angeles’ current roster as well as the new offensive and defensive principles incoming head coach Luke Walton should look to instill.

If it’s Ingram, great. He can plug in at small forward and play alongside Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson in a traditional starting lineup on opening night. The 6'9" forward's outside shot and length (7'3" wingspan) make him a natural solution for some of L.A.’s ongoing problems. 

If the Sixers choose to add three-point shooting and wing versatility to their crowded frontcourt and Simmons falls to Los Angeles, the Lakers will get a generational sensation who, on paper, overlaps Randle’s skill set at the same position. Presumably, the Lakers would eventually have to move the latter for a more complementary piece; someone who can defend the rim and/or better space the floor.

Randle shot 22.9 percent on mid-range jumpers last season and 27.8 percent behind the three-point line. Simmons went 1-of-3 beyond the arc in college, which ingrained doubt about how he’ll do in a league that values outside shooting more and more every day. 

But talk to those who know Simmons best—the coaches and administrators who spent a year watching him in the gym before, during and after practice—and they’ll tell you he can slide right into just about any situation and thrive. ...

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