76ers Head Coach Sees LeBron James, Magic Johnson in Top Draft Prospect Ben Simmons

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Now that they've finally got themselves a first overall pick after years of tanking, the Philadelphia 76ers have essentiallly two options with the No. 1 slot: all-around point forward Ben Simmons out of LSU, or Duke's rangy, sweet-shooting small forward Brandon Ingram.

And because of their self-appointed bottom-feeder status, the Sixers desperately need a lot of what each player brings—specifically, Simmons' ball-handling and play-making, and Ingram's outside shooting and defensive potential.

But the team's head coach Brett Brown may have sucked out all the suspense filling the gap between now and the NBA draft on June 23 with some comments he made on Colin Cowherd's radio show.

"When you watch Simmons, and you know his background now better than anybody I've talked to, does he remind you of anybody?" Cowherd asked Brown.

The coach's response? A pair of Hall of Fame legends: Magic Johnson and LeBron James.

"He's got a hint of Magic," Brown said on Thursday. "At times you can see like a younger LeBron, where you're not sure what position he is. One moment you think he's a 4, maybe he's a 3. He looks comfortable handling the ball. When you say 'What is your identifiable, NBA, elite skill?' most people go immediately to passing. And you take that collection of comments and you add it to a six-foot-10 frame, the comparisons to those two players could be a little bit reckless, could be a little bit ambitious. But there's no denying that he really does come to the draft with a very unique skill package."

In his sophomore and final season at Michigan State, Johnson averaged 17.1 points on 46.8 percent shooting, 7.3 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game. In his lonely season at LSU, Simmons shot 56.1 percent from the field, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists.