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Ben Simmons.

Allen Iverson sends a special message to new Sixers star Ben Simmons

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The Philadelphia 76ers selected LSU forward Ben Simmons with the first pick in the draft and there is an overwhelming sense of optimism in the city that he can contribute to a change of fortunes for the franchise. 

After trusting 'the process' of former general manager Sam Hinkie for a number of years to no effect, the arrival of Simmons offers hope for brighter days ahead.  

The talented Australian was the best player in the draft and is destined to be a star in the league for years to come and the fans in Philly will hope his best years will be spent in a Sixers uniform.  

The 19-year-old is the first number one pick to be selected by the 76ers since Allen Iverson in 1996. Iverson spent 13 years in the NBA and is one of the best players to ever represent Philadelphia and play in the league. 

He was an icon in Philly and led the team to the Finals in 2001. He had his jersey retired in 2014 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year.

The Answer shared a special relationship with the fans in the City of Brotherly Love and gave Philly's new star a special message on draft night.

Taking to his Twitter account, the former MVP said: "Congratulations @BenSimmons25. I know you'll make all of us Philly fans proud!!"

Much is expected of Simmons who can be a walking triple-double on any given night due to his varied skillset.

Having the support of one of the city's basketball heroes and a legend of the game will give him the confidence to go out and help the team be competitive on the court again. 

The fans in the city have had to endure a torturous three years and will be desperate to get behind a winning team once again. In an interview on ESPN, Iverson offered some advice to the new number one pick and what he can expect from the Philly faithful.

"Just understand that there'll be some ups and downs, but these people will stick with you," he said. "As long as you give them everything you have, these people will stick with you through your ups and your downs.

2016 NBA Draft

"I'm a perfect example of that. I fell, got back up, fell, got back up, and they always stuck with me and they'll do that with him [Simmons]."

The wait is over

The young Aussie was expected to be the top pick throughout the year and, despite some late doubts after the emergence of Duke's Brandon Ingram, the Sixers didn't prove anybody wrong.  

Simmons has to had wait a long time for the moment to arrive but is now ready to showcase his talents on the biggest stage.  

"I'm happy to be part of the family now," Simmons said. "It's a weight off my chest. I've been looking forward to this day for a while, so I'm glad I've made history, not only for myself but my family and Australian basketball."

2016 NBA Draft

76ers head coach Brett Brown coached Simmons' father and has known the rookie from a young age so the decision to select him was a no brainer. 

Brown believes his close ties to the family and his knowledge of his background will help him and the organisation get the best out of their new star

"I coached Ben's father a long time ago; I've known Ben since he was born," Brown told USA Today. "I've known his family since the late '80s. Just having that knowledge of where he was raised, understanding that culture -- I also lived 17 years in Australia.

"There are a lot of different connections (related to that) that I think help make me better informed. This will help our organization make a more calculated decision. He's obviously an extremely talented young man who comes from a great family."

Topics:
Eastern Conference
NBA
Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid
Jahlil Okafor

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