NBA Draft: Two Australians picked in top 10 as Simmons bags No 1

Ben Simmons says he cant wait to get to Philadelphia after the 76ers selected him with the No 1 pick of the NBA Draft

Australias basketball prospects have never looked brighter as two Australians have been picked in the top 10 of the 2016 NBA Draft.

Ben Simmons says he cant wait to get to Philadelphia after the 76ers selected him with the No 1 pick of the NBA Draft.

The 19-year-old from Melbourne hugged his mother Julie and father NBL great Dave inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the Australian was the No 1 pick.

It is amazing, said Simmons, with a 76ers cap on his head.

Im happy the Sixers chose me. Ive been working so hard to get to this point. It is a great city and Im looking forward to getting to the Philly.

Ben
Billed as potentially Australias best ever basketballer, Ben Simmons will have huge expectations surrounding his debut season with Philadelphia 76ers. Photograph: Todd J. Van Emst/AP

Simmons, who signed a US$20m ($A26.30m) endorsement deal with Nike and will earn US$15.42m (A$20.27m) over three years with the 76ers, faces a monumental task to turn the Philadelphia team around.

The 76ers were the worst team in the NBA last season with just 10 wins in 82 games and did not do much better the previous two years.

Eleven-time All-Star and Philadelphia great Allan Iverson said Simmons can do it all and has a lot of young talent that can take us far, but warned Philadelphia fans are passionate and will only accept him if he gives 100 per cent when he is on the floor.

Simmons is the third Australian-born player drafted number one, with Andrew Bogut the top pick in 2005 and Kyrie Irving in 2011.

In a personal connection, Ben Simmons father, David Simmons, played for Sixers head coach Brett Brown in Australia for the Melbourne Tigers.

Thon
Thon Maker walks to the stage after being selected as the number ten overall pick to the Milwaukee Bucks. Photograph: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Simmons will join fellow Melbourne-born point guard Dante Exum in the NBA, who is the son of a former NBL star Cecil, who also played for the Melbourne Tigers.

Elsewhere in the draw, the Los Angeles Lakers took Duke University forward Brandon Ingram with the second pick while the Boston Celtics went third with University of California forward Jaylen Brown.

Giant centre Thon Maker went as the No 10 pick to the Milwaukee Bucks, who ignored some late controversy.

Just hours before the draft reports surfaced that some NBA teams ruled Maker out because they believed the 19-year-old could be aged 21 or 23.

The 216cm-tall Maker was born in war-torn Sudan and, when he was five, his family fled and settled in Perth.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jun/24/nba-draft-ben-simmons-chosen-no1-pick

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