Trail Blazers Summer League: Individual Performance Analysis - Part One

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C.J. McCollum

Jan 18, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum (3) brings the ball up court during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Trail Blazers defeated the Mavericks 127-111. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Point Guard / Shooting Guard
Points per game: 20.2
Rebounds per game: 3.2
Assists per game: 2.0
Steals per game: 1.8
Blocks per game: 0.0
Turnovers per game: 2.4
Personal Fouls per game: 1.2
Minutes Played per game: 32.8
Field Goal Percentage: 48.0%
Three-point Percentage: 34.5%
Free Throw Percentage: 70.0%

McCollum was the Trail Blazers’ brightest star in the 2014 Las Vegas Summer League. He looked a lot more comfortable at the lowered level of competition, assuming the form of his pre-injury college self. It was an interesting preview of what he has potential to be in league play once the NBA pace slows down for him mentally. He was the pure, efficient scorer that the Trail Blazers drafted him to be in 2013, before that re-broken foot derailed his early rookie involvement with the team.

I am curious how well this will translate once McCollum returns to an offense that is no longer built around him. He has staked an imposing claim to the backup shooting guard position by showcasing his ability to score in spurts, so maybe he can provide a legitimate punch off the bench this year. Then again, maybe not. The regular season is a different beast, but all Summer League signs point to a sophomore leap from McCollum.

 

 

He collects heaps of praise for his three-point shooting when he is on (as he should), but his proclivity for penetration is what makes me think he’ll find a place in Portland. McCollum is not a simple niche player. More than once, he cut through the defense for a strong finish at the rim. The added beauty here is that opponents were forced to hesitate on every future hang-dribble, because if they guessed wrong, McCollum would burn them again. This opened up even more scoring opportunities; especially from deep.

I cannot speak for the availability of these shots at the NBA level, but McCollum’s technical skills were enough to place him firmly among the Las Vegas Summer League standouts. He will have to work a lot harder this fall to maintain relevance, but I am confident that he can do so as the first shooting guard, and in time maybe even the first option, off the bench.

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