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Any NBA Team Crazy Enough to Try a Damian Lillard-Ben Simmons Experiment?

Kyle Koster
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
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Ben Simmons has been very available for hire since he passed up a wide-open layup as the Philadelphia 76ers are left hoping to maximize the eventual return. Damian Lillard appears closer to officially Looking Elsewhere as True Hoop reported this morning. Separately they are blue-chip talents, the type of A-list movers and shakers that electrify the NBA offseason. But what about together? Should a bold team aiming to think outside the box concoct a scenario which allows them to ride with two new weapons instead of one for the next few years and hope to compete immediately, re-tooling the roster toward above-average veteran pieces while parting with young prospects and draft picks?

Anyone even entertaining the idea would need to think, like I do, that Simmons' true value is far greater than his perceived value in this dark valley. A dominant defender with point-guard skills at that height? Good luck finding a surplus of those. We can admit that he will always have some offensive shortcomings and still concede that he is a dynamic weapon capable of being used in ways never suggested in Philadelphia. Pairing him up with Lillard, who enjoys nothing more than pounding the rock and initiating the offense, would allow him some freedom and possibly more production on that end of the court.

Simmons is not yet 25 years old. Clearly not a lost cause and still with a ceiling that could land him on first-or-second All-NBA teams. Then, there's Lillard. At 31, he still has a few years before the wear and tear has traditionally set in — and the Kyle Lowry's of the world are resetting the standard in guard longevity. Dame is playoff tested and desperate to prove himself elite. He would both accept and embrace the idea of being an Alpha somewhere else and Simmons would more than likely have the self-awareness to see himself as the No. 2 guy.

Obviously, this is back-of-the-napkin stuff here based in hypothetical. I'm just arguing that the prospect of having this combination as the anchor of an NBA team over the next few years would not be the worst thing in the world. In fact, if both are productive, it has the potential to be among the five best leaguewide. That's assuming their chemistries could work — which, again is very possible to imagine.

Maybe the idea is far too far-fetched to consider. But if any bored NBA front office person is reading this and doing some thinking, go ahead and pass it off as your own.

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