- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Any first-overall NBA draft pick generally comes with high expectations, but normally it’s something along the lines of, ‘yeah, he’ll be a key contributor,’ or ‘we’re expecting to ease him into the system before he becomes a star,’ or something like that.

It’s generally not ‘yeah, he’s Naismith-bound.’

But don’t tell that to Philadelphia 76ers president Bryan Colangelo. He already believes his top selection is destined to join legends.

“What we saw in Ben, was about the immense talent level that he has, and the possibility for greatness that he has,” Colangelo said on The Vertical Podcast with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“All those things that got us excited about him about a possible No. 1 selection, it’s all coming to fruition, and hopefully over the next five to 10 years, we’ll all be part of that same growth of him becoming a great basketball player, and becoming a Hall of Fame type of player,” Colangelo said. “Does he have it in him? I think he does. Does he have some work to do? Absolutely.”

Simmons has been feeling this pressure for quite some time now. Even before he attended LSU, murmurs began to swirl around Simmons. It was widely believed he could have gone straight to the NBA from high school (but the NBA requires at least a year of college). Simmons was even in communication with LeBron James to get a feel for what he could expect as he enters the NBA, a player many believe he can emulate.

As a LSU freshman, Simmons became a consensus All-American pick, averaging 19.2 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. Simmons finished 10th in the college basketball player of the year’s Naismith award voting.

Simmons joins a Philadelphia team that won just 10 games last year. The .122 winning percentage made the 2015-16 76ers the second-worst team in league history.

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