The idea of the Sixers trading for CJ McCollum has been going around recently. Kyle and I discussed this briefly on Friday’s Crossing Broadcast (audio at 18:30) and I wanted to go into a bit more detail in a post.
I want to clarify something right off the bat: this hypothetical isn’t my preferred option for the Sixers. It will require some real cap maneuvering and would likely mean that Paul George signed with the Lakers and the Spurs weren’t impressed by the Sixers offer for Kawhi Leonard. Notice I didn’t mention LeBron James. With the right pieces in a trade for Lehigh University alum CJ McCollum, the Sixers could roll out a starting five of:
PG – Ben Simmons
SG – CJ McCollum
SF – LeBron James
PF – Dario Saric
C – Joel Embiid
The idea might not be as crazy as it seems. The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and ESPN’s Zach Lowe discussed the possibility in passing, albeit as a three team trade featuring Markelle Fultz and some combination of Dario Saric and the #10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft (audio at 51:45).
The part they missed, of course, is the salary cap implications of acquiring McCollum:
Bringing in a cap hit of nearly $26 million only makes sense if you’ve missed out on your top targets of LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13. If, however, the Sixers’ goal is to partner McCollum with LeBron, they’d have to shed some real salary:
This, of course, would also require renouncing the rights to JJ Redick and Amir Johnson, as well as asking LeBron to take less than the max to sign with Philadelphia.
What would McCollum bring to the Sixers? Find out after the jump:
McCollum would certainly represent an improvement over the streaky play of Robert Covington and/or the unknown commodity of Markelle Fultz. His shot distribution is much more balanced than that of the aforementioned Covington and Fultz:
(Credit: Cleaning the Glass)
If you’ve followed the Portland Trailblazers, there’s been a school of thought that CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard can’t be an elite backcourt that could challenge Golden State or Houston. Casual fans have often regurgitated the notion that McCollum can’t play off-ball, which is simply untrue.
(Credit: Cleaning the Glass)
McCollum is a solid ball handler, but his ability to play off-ball and score – as well as his ability to create his own shot – is what makes him a perfect fit next to Ben Simmons. He scored 33% of his shots off assists from teammates, including 63% of his three point shots, placing him in the 96th and 94th percentiles respectively among wings league-wide.
Note: Cleaning the Glass weighs shot creation as a more valuable statistic, hence McCollum’s 63% ASTD% Three (94th percentile) is rated higher than JJ Redick’s 90% ASTD% Three (60th percentile). Redick’s catch-and-shoot ability has been his calling card throughout his career. The fact that Redick and McCollum’s 3P% is only separated by 2.3% also speaks to the value of shot creation in addition to spot-up shooting.
What do you think? Would you have any interest in CJ McCollum on next year’s team? Would you rather pair him with LeBron if it means trading Fultz and Cov/#10, or getting McCollum and re-signing Redick? Good banter comments are welcome; useless ones will be ignored.