Kentucky Wildcats basketball coach John Calipari is slightly biased when it comes to his former players. That said, Calipari dropped a bombshell in an interview with ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg. The coach says the Philadelphia 76ers like Kentucky product Jamal Murray more than LSU’s Ben Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram.
“That’s who they want more than those two, and that’s all I can tell you,” Calipari said of Murray.
He also delved into why Murray is more desirable than Simmons or Ingram.
“His ability to score, stretch the defense, play the point guard position, play off the ball because the NBA is going to position-less, and flat-out shoot the ball, which is where the NBA is going,” Cal said. “He’s physically ready. He’s one of the great kids of all-time. It’s not like he’s got a body that may or may not work in that league, and it’s not like he’s not a great kid who can lead your locker room, so all of the sudden he gets consideration for the 1 pick.”
All signs have pointed to Philly taking Simmons at No. 1 overall. General manager Bryan Colangelo has spoken at length about his comfort level with Simmons, who he’s known for some time due to his relationship with the young man’s father.
At this point, it seems like the only way the 76ers would consider taking Murray is if they traded the top pick. But that’s something Colangelo shot down emphatically recently (more on that here).
All that being said, surprises at the top of the draft happen often enough that it wouldn’t be overwhelmingly shocking if Colangelo did select Murray. Anticipation is building with each passing day as the 2016 NBA Draft approaches. It’s going to be an exciting night when they start calling out names on June 23.