This past June, the Portland Trailblazers were looking for another key piece of the puzzle to accelerate their rebuild and get back to being one of the premier teams in the Western Conference.
To their amazement, star senior guard CJ McCollum, who has been favorably compared to an even better shooting Steph Curry, fell into their laps with the 10th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The 6’4 guard twice was named the Patriot League Player of the Year at Lehigh and burst onto the national scene by virtue of almost single-handedly helping his squad upset the heavily favored Duke Blue Devils in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
As a senior, he was the nation’s leading scorer, averaging an impressive 25+ppg and shooting better than 50% on threes before breaking his left foot in a game last January against VCU.
Named one of the favorites for 2014 NBA Rookie of the Year, McCollum shined in the 2013 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, scoring 23 points in his first game before once again breaking his foot prior to the beginning of the regular season back on October 5th.
After an extensive rehab he was assigned to Portland’s D-League affiliate Idaho Stampede for 2 games with better than expected results(23 points and 13 pts, 6 reb, 6 ast) and has been recalled and activated to the Trailblazers roster for Tuesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings.
McCollum’s rehab has been almost an afterthought with the Blazers’ amazing start to the season, but with Nicolas Batum now wearing a splint for a broken middle finger over the next 6 weeks, and the team losing 3 of the last 5 games, surely Portland would welcome more offensive production in the form of prized rookie CJ McCollum.
Could a Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum pairing rival Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as one of the best backcourts in the NBA?
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.