SURROUNDING BIG BEN SIMMONS: SIXERS BIG PLAYERS IN FREE AGENCY

By Art Beitchman

Not long after Ben Simmons was taken with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft seven nights ago, Sixers head coach Brett Brown made it clear that Simmons would be the focal point of the offense, most likely as a “point forward.”

He will play the small forward position but have the ball handling and facilitator responsibilities once the offense is set.

Brown also pointed out that combo guards will be the way to go in free agency, players that can hit the 3-ball that Simmons dishes out to the perimeter when he doesn’t drop it low for Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.

The last three years the club has spent very little money on free agency, when the market opens for business tomorrow, the 76ers will be very active.

Harrison Barnes, 6-8 small forward who was the Warriors first-round draft pick in 2012, could cost $90M for four years, but the Sixers have the money to spend, so Barnes is a legit acquisition.

It doesn’t appear they will go for a traditional point guard, but if they do Mike Conley fits the bill. An eight-year veteran, Conley has a career 15.3 ppg average, 6.1 apg average and 44% from the floor. He would also bring the veteran leadership a very young team needs.

Jordan Clarkson, who played for the Lakers last season, is also being looked at as a scorer behind the three point line, averaging 15.5 ppg, shooting 48% from the floor and 80% from the stripe.

Other combo guards they are coveting, Allen Crabbe from the Blazers and Bradley Beal from the Wizards, will also be considered in free agency.

Getting the right fit for this pivotal season is key for this team to take a big step up in 2016-17.

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