Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Brett Brown and other NBA executives fielded questions after the final 2016 NBA Draft order was determined.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Boston (From Brooklyn)
6. New Orleans
7. Denver (From New York)
9. Toronto (From Denver via New York)
13. Phoenix (From Washington)
Brett Brown, Philadelphia 76ers
Brown: It's fantastic for the city. It's fantastic for the organization.
Q: Did you say you knew what you were going to do right now?
Brown: No, it's not saying anything but the truth. We have Bryan [Colangelo] has just come into it. Marc Eversley has just come into it. We've just come back from Chicago, and we have a lot of firepower around our organization that will dig in and make a calculated decision a huge decision but at this stage it would be premature to say to anybody that we know what we're doing.
Q: Can you walk us through the last half hour emotionally?
Brown: You feel helpless in that you go sit in a chair, and you sit there and you listen to all of the discussion going on previously with some of the former players. You understand that there are other things going on with the Lakers pick and Sacramento pick that could influence this decision. So as it's playing out in real time, you're just trying to process it all, and you just have to sit there and listen and take it. And take it, we will. As I said up there, and I'll say it as many times as people will listen: I'm just thrilled for the city of Philadelphia. Our fans deserve this. It's a big night.
Q: What was your first reaction when you realized you had the No. 1 pick?
Brown: Just the reality that we now control more of our own destiny. We do control more of our own destiny. And as I said, with the multiple picks that we have along with our current players some of our current players on our roster like Joel [Embiid] and Dario [Saric], how can't you be excited about the future of our organization? And I think the city has endured a lot over the past three seasons. So you just get a flood of memories when you hear that you have the first pick. That ties it all in, and I'm just very thrilled for our organization.
Q: Did you ever feel like getting the No. 1 pick would actually happen?
Brown: I can't say that you knew that. What I could say is that I felt we were doing the right things all along the way, we were never skipping steps. We put in good days. Our process was questioned at times, fair enough. But I feel like with what we were building around us, on the court and off the court, that we were doing the right thing to give ourselves a chance for genuine longevity.
Bryan Colangelo, Philadelphia 76ers
Q: Where are you at in the process of evaluating what the best course of action is for your team?
Colangelo: We've had a chance to already meet with Brandon Ingram and Kris Dunn among the top candidates. There are several others, Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield and several others that we've met with. Ben Simmons did not attend Chicago, so we did not have chance for that to occur. I do plan a trip to Cleveland soon, and a couple of these guys will obviously be coming into Philadelphia for visits in our home gym. A lot of work to do over the next 40 days or so. There's a lot to do and we have our sleeves rolled up.
Q: When do you expect to be settled on who the top guy is?
Colangelo: We may decide before, but we're certainly not going to announce it. Again, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Physical testing, individual conversations with these two or three or four prospects. And I will tell you, we are going to continue to do our due diligence for the draft. We're going to visit all the players. They are going to visit us. There are some draft workouts to be held. Don't forget, we've got 24 and 26 in this draft as well. A lot of things could be in play. We need to determine what the best course of action is. But, the good news is, you've got resources in place. You've got the tools now clearly defined one, 24 and 26. We've got those good young, developing players that continue to develop even as we speak today in our gym in Philadelphia.
Q: Are you committed to keeping that number one pick or are you open to trading it?
Colangelo: It's pretty obvious that the answer is yes [to keeping it]. A lot of people jumped on the notion that we talked about looking at all alternatives as open to moving the pick. I think, again, you have to look at every single option and everything in front of you. But, the bottom line is, now that we're sitting in the number one position, it changes the dynamic. I think it was more in reference to, what would happen if we ended up with two top five picks, if there was maybe, perhaps, a decision to move one of those. It's highly unlikely that anything is done with the number one pick except selecting the player.
Q: What stands out to you about Simmons from afar?
Colangelo: When you analyze the top two prospects, as far as all the reports go and the media speculation, you've got two guys that are very talented players but very different players. One who is a ballhandling four, who actually would be in a position to initiate the offense. Very versatile. Plays multiple positions. He could actually play some three, some four and probably some five in some situations the way the league is playing right now. But, again, the notion that he's a ball-handling four puts him in a unique position with our team, to be a distributor, etc. As you look at a Brandon Ingram, more of a shooter, a silky smooth small forward type. Probably can play multiple positions as well. I think you have to look at his versatility. But, the one thing that stands out is his ability to shoot the basketball, above all else. There is obviously two very interesting candidates there.
Mitch Kupchak, Los Angeles Lakers
Q: You've had multiple lottery picks over the last couple years, can you talk about the landscape of players coming into the league at a very young age?
Kupchak: The landscape in the NBA has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Just by virtue of the new CBA's and that's an adjustment that franchises have to make going forward, learning the new rules and adjusting to the rules. Having said that, rebuilding is a process and it does take some time. A year ago, we thought we drafted a good player in Julius Randle and we were hopeful that we drafted a good player in Jordan Clarkson, but Julius got hurt the first game of the season and Jordan didn't play until almost mid-February. And this year we draft D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance and Anthony Brown, all three of which we think are going to be good players. So from a year ago when we didn't have much to hang our hat on, we've come out with five good players, a good core of young players to build around. To me that's the beginning of a process. I think to get the No. 2 pick and we also have the 32nd pick this year, that's going to make this thing go a little quicker. But I mentioned earlier, we had prepared as we weren't going to get the pick, so to get the pick and to have our cap flexibility for the summer, we think we're in good shape.
Q: You're from the New York area and many people say that fans don't have the patience of rebuilding, that's why New York teams, in whatever sport, always go for expensive free agents. In Los Angeles, fans are used to winning as well. Do you think in Los Angeles, there's more patience in a rebuilding process with young players?
Kupchak: We have great fans and they understand the game. Perhaps they're a little bit more patient, but we have a demanding marketplace, too. They're great fans and we have great media partners but we're used to putting out a product that's entertaining and wins. I think our fans understand what has happened the last two or three years, specifically with Kobe and the injury process he went through, so I think they're patient and having said that we don't think we can continue to lose at this pace and at some point you have to make a dramatic jump or at least show dramatic improvement.
Q: I know you said you were planning as if you didn't have the pick, but is there some relief that you do have the pick now?
Kupchak: Don't I look excited? It's nerve-wracking. For everybody up there, you don't want to be there. But if you had a bad season or you made a good trade, you're up there. Like Masai [Ujiri], they have Game 1 today and here he is having a chance at the No. 2 pick in the draft, so that's another way to get up there and feel good about yourself. But most of us had pretty bad seasons and it's a nerve-wracking process to be up there and particularly the way our deal worked this year. It's not like we were guaranteed a top five pick. If we ended up outside of three we got no pick. That means we get a pick next year, but I'm hopeful that we won't have the same kind of season next year as this year.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Q: How does it feel?
Booker: It feels good. I just hope they are ready to work. I don't care about the number in the draft. I care more about the person. I hope they're ready to work and come in with a winning attitude. I'm looking forward to whoever it is.
Q: Do you have a message for the draftees?
Booker: The NBA is a grind. Be ready. People can tell you all they want. Until you experience it, you won't know. It doesn't matter what number you are. You have to be ready for your opportunities. Whoever comes in with that mindset, you'll be ready.
Q: How did it feel to be on stage with the entire NBA world watching?
Booker: It was more nerve-racking than I thought it would be. For some reason, I thought I had the will to get the number one pick. I came up short, but it's ok. I'm excited for the whole process and the draftees. This is going to change their life. I'm excited for them.
Q: How did it feel to have Kentucky well-represented?
Booker: That's how we are. We're a brotherhood. We're mostly all successful. I'm proud of everything. We work really hard. That's just the mindset you get at Kentucky. I'm proud of everybody. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.
Q: Did you bring any good luck charms with you?
Booker: I brought my good friend Jenna along with me. She's a big fan of this team. She's helped me out a lot this year especially with the long year we had. She's pretty special to me.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Q: What's it been like? Did you see it going quite this well?
Towns: You know what? I worked tremendously hard at my craft and did the best I could. So I felt very confident going into this year that everything would go well for us. We grew as a team very much and can't wait until next year.
Q: How did you make the transition so seamlessly?
Towns: Just a lot of hard work, dedication, listening instead of talking just really listening to the mentors I had and the trainers I had. The coaching staff was great and helped helped me transition really well.
Q: What do you think about Ben Simmons?
Towns: He can handle the ball very well for his size. He can rebound well. He is a good passer. For him, to have that size and talent is really good.
Q: What's the advice you'd give the top pick?
Towns: Just be yourself. Don't rush the process and enjoy it.
Q: What will any team be getting when they get Wade Baldwin IV? Break down his skills.
Towns: I mean, Wade is a very tall guard, very lanky, has great physical attributes and measurements. He is gifted. He's just very gifted physically and also gifted on the court. His ability to hit jumpshots and be able to play very fast but also very athletic and explosive. I think he is going to remind a lot of people of Russell Westbrook.
Q: And what kind of a teammate?
Towns: He's a great teammate. You're talking about a very smart guard. He's savvy with the ball. He's a fierce competitor loves to win. He's going to do anything his team needs him to do at any given point in the game.
Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors
Q: What does the No. 9 pick mean for Toronto?
Ujiri: It means so much for us to get a top 10 pick and be in the final four of the NBA Playoffs, is remarkable for us as a franchise. We're blessed to be here and we got the best of both worlds and we'll see how it goes. I think this is the easy part, now you have to pick the player, but we're excited.
Q: When you already have a playoff caliber team and you get the No. 9 pick, is there a strategy behind the selection or you go best available?
Ujiri: Yes, there's a strategy behind it but that's something that we're going to really buckle down and study now that we know exactly where we will be picking. We will see how our season ends and evaluate what our needs will be, based on regular season and playoffs. There's a couple holes we have to fill but we'll see. I can't make that call now.
Q: How does it feel knowing the lottery process is over and you can know focus on the team's playoff run?
Ujiri: It's great. Tomorrow I will head off to Cleveland and get to be back with the basketball family and see where this takes us. We're happy that this is over with.
Q: How will the draft pick impact the upcoming free agency this summer?
Ujiri: It's a huge asset for us in many ways. Whether we're bringing in a young player or doing anything with the pick is a huge asset for us and we're happy to have it.
Comparing and Contrasting the Prospects of Tatum, Jackson and Isaac
Jun 21, 2017, 02:52 pm
In a draft class lauded for its guards, three exceptionally talented, and wildly different, forward prospects sit in the top six of our mock draft, each taking a very different path to the top, and demonstrating wildly contrasting strengths and weaknesses. So who is the best prospect among the three?