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Ben Simmons.

Number one draft pick Ben Simmons officially signs his first contract with the Philadelphia 76ers

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Ben Simmons, the number one overall selection in the 2016 draft, has officially put pen to paper on his first-ever professional contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The LSU product arrives at a franchise that has been going through some seriously dark times in the past few seasons. The Sixers have only managed a combined 47 wins over the past three seasons and if they had amassed that tally just last season, they still would have only just scraped their way into the playoffs in seventh place.

That shows the dire straights the organisation has experienced since the glory days of Allen Iverson, however, with a plethora of lottery picks in recent years it was reasonably expected that Philly's fortunes may have improved by now, at least a little.

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The Sixers will be delighted that Simmons has now officially joined them can now concentrate on leading the franchise to better days. Of course, signing the contract was nothing more than a formality for both parties as Simmons and his representatives are shackled by what a rookie can earn in the NBA.

According to RealGM, Simmons will make between $3.9 million and $5.9 million in 2016-17, and his salary will rise incrementally each season of the deal, which covers two guaranteed years and subsequent options.

In addition to Simmons' arrival, Joel Embiid will finally look to suit up for the first time in his NBA career after suffering a debilitating feet injury for the past two years. ESPN.com's Marc Stein also reported that Dario Saric may be making his move to the United States after staying overseas for the past two years, too.

Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers

What Philadelphia manage to achieve in free agency will likely determine how far they come this season. They have plenty of young pieces, but most of them are forwards. Factoring in Simmons, they already had Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel and the returning Embiid to think about going forward.

It's always been likely they would seek to trade one of them. Embiid has virtually no trade value after failing to take to the floor yet while Okafor and Noel have contrasting skill sets. Okafor offers little to nothing on the defensive end, but managing 17.5 points a game in a struggling side is a testament to what he can bring to the offensive side of the game.

Noel is the opposite. He has shown he may go on to be a premier defender in the league, but he offers precious little scoring-wise and doesn't particularly fit well alongside Okafor either.

Simmons is no doubt the crown jewel they have been waiting to build around and, now he is set in stone as a Sixers man, they can start to give him the necessary complimenting pieces he needs to help Philly rise from the pits of the NBA.

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

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