By Ben Sullivan

So, yesterday was Ben Simmons’ 25th birthday.

And the Sixers could give their fans a big gift by trading their overrated and overpaid point guard.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has an intriguing point:

The Sixers hope to enter the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, not settle for CJ McCollum.

But there’s pressure on the Sixers front office to maximize Joel Embiid’s prime. And just like Simmons could be better in Portland, McCollum could be better in Philadelphia.

Through the past three seasons, including the playoffs, here’s how McCollum’s per-36 minutes stats compare when playing with Dame versus without him:

Is McCollum Ready for a Solo Act?

Stat Without Lillard With Lillard
Points Per 36 25.4 21.5
Assists Per 36 5.9 3.3
True Shooting 51% 57%

Via PBP Stats

McCollum’s scoring volume and playmaking go up without Lillard, but his scoring efficiency dips. Playing with an elite big man like Joel Embiid could help create easier chances for him, and he could provide balance as a perimeter shot creator.

The Sixers could move Simmons elsewhere or hold out hope that Lillard or Bradley Beal becomes available. But both the Blazers and the Sixers should consider a McCollum-for-Simmons swap, especially since it could be Portland’s only chance for a big move before Lillard’s patience runs out.

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