Throughout their respective primes, Portland Trail Blazers stars CJ McCollum and Rasheed Wallace had a lot in common. Both flew under the radar, their accolades rarely reflecting their talent levels. They both produced play styles that would scale suitably in different eras …
… and they both ran into two of the greatest dynasties in NBA history.
This morning, McCollum joined Let’s Get Technical to discuss some of those scenarios with Rasheed Wallace, Bonzi Wells, and Gerald Brown. The group delved into multiple topics, with their battles against NBA dynasties among the most riveting. Brown asked CJ McCollum what questions he would have for Wallace and Walls, and this was their exchange:
"McCollum: “Two, well for one, I’m not gonna compare the Warriors to the Lakers cause it’s two different beasts. It’s just like … same animal, different beast. We’re dealing with different types of roadblocks. We lost to the Warriors … 2015, 2016, 2018, like they done stopped us from winning a championship a lot of times.And it’s just more so about what you think you should have done differently, or would’ve done differently to make sure your teammates are ready for that stage. Because like, when you’re a dog, you’re a dog. But now you need other people to be stars in their role. How do you get the best out of them, and what advice would you have for me to get over that hump?”Wells: “The best advice I can give you is to continue to invest in your role players. Because them guys like yourself and Dame, y’all gonna do y’all job. You know, you average 25-30 for a reason. You’re gonna do your job. It’s the role players, and the guys that do the small things that don’t come up in the stat sheets that’s going to win the game for you.”"
Wells also credited Wallace for helping provide comfort to every player, from those starting to those coming off the bench. Wallace said he found similarities between the current-day Lakers and the ones he often battled with, and offered some like-minded advice.
"Wallace: So, you know they were always a thorn in our side, but I definitely know where you’re coming from with the frustration of losing in the Western Conference Finals and falling short or this and that, because we went through it as well, but I think what Bonzi said was key, though CJ.We already know what you gonna do, you already know what Dame is gonna do. We know what certain guys are gonna do. So now, y’all have to install that same will in those bench players who might not be able to play a whole bunch of minutes. Just let them know, it’s the same way as college. No matter if you’re getting a minute, two minutes, or 35 or 40 minutes. When you’re out there, you’ve gotta make a difference.”"
Former Portland Trail Blazers players Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells know a thing or two about facing dynasties. On “Let’s Get Technical,” they offered CJ McCollum some advice.
Wallace mentioned something that Portland Trail Blazers fans may have difficulties getting over; the types of players that he’s discussing here never materialized in Portland. He didn’t find those seasoned veterans until he joined the Detroit Pistons, and that allowed him to slay the Los Angeles Lakers after five failed attempts.
The parallels between the two uncanny, though. CJ McCollum owns a 1-12 record against the Warriors, but his averages — 20.9 points and 4.3 rebounds on 41-38-78 percentage lines — are merely a sliver behind his average play. Wallace was in a similar boat, ramping his game up to average 20.3 points and 7.4 rebounds on 47-49-68 percentages, but had just a 12-21 record to show for it.
There’s good news and bad news in this equation. The Warriors are no longer as formidable as they once were. Yet on the flip side, the Los Angeles Lakers (surprise, surprise) have taken their place as the team to beat in the Western Conference.
For years, McCollum’s defining trait has been his consistency, regardless of the situation, the defensive scheme, or even his own health. If Portland aspires to get over the hump, they may need something supernatural from both their role players and their featured stars.
Over the rest of the pod, McCollum and the crew discussed the disconnect between NBA stars of the current generation and the past generation, Super Bowl picks, McCollum’s emergence as a player, and much more. It can be found through the link above.