Photo: Getty Images
Name: C.J. McCollum Age: 21 School: Lehigh
Height: 6’3 Weight: 197 Projected Position: PG/SG
21.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 2.1 spg, 2.4 tpg (32.9 minutes per game)
43.9 FG%, 82.5 FT%, 37.7 3FG%, 1.2:1 A/TO
56.3 TS%, 50.1 eFG%, 32.4 USG%, 20.1 AST%, 12.3 TOV%
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
McCollum has good form on his jumper, though he needs to watch a slight tendency to fade away when he doesn’t need to. He does a good job getting square the basket, gets good lift from his legs and has a good release point and follow through. He has the ability to hit his jumper off the pass or dribble, and if he has time to get set, he can be an above-average spot-shooter. He uses his dribble well to create space for his jumper, as well as pump fakes. McCollum needs to work on using screens and moving without the ball. He needs to make quick, precise movements to get space from his defender, and when using screens he needs to come off them much tighter to give him space. McCollum doesn’t make many bad shots, though it will be interesting to see how consistent he will be from NBA 3-point range. McCollum also is very good at finding space off the dribble in the mid-range area, and uses his ability there to draw defender out to go by them.
McCollum has a very good first step, and he uses his dribble well to get by his man in isolation. He is able to get to the basket with either hand, and is capable of finishing around the basket with either hand. He attacks the basket well, and more importantly, keeps great control as he gets into the lane and the defense. I would like to see McCollum do a better job keeping his head up and seeing the court when he gets by his man, especially in the lane area. He goes strong to the basket, and he has good body control once he is in the air. He is capable of finishing with finesse or above the rim. McCollum should work on adding a short jumper or floater to his shooting repertoire in the lane area, especially since he may not get to the basket as easy in the NBA. McCollum attacks the basket well off of screens, though he can still work on coming tighter around the corner to create some separation.
McCollum is an above-average ballhandler, able to use both hands well and a good number of advanced dribbles, such as a change-of-pace and a solid crossover, to try and lose his man or create space. He has very good control and is careful with the ball, keeping the ball low and close to his body, though at times he may overestimate how much room he has to try and get by someone. He is very good going to his left, which makes it tough for a defender to overplay him to one side. McCollum’s court vision has improved each season he has played, though he seems to prefer the easy pass to trying anything risky with the ball. One area I would like to see him improve as a passer is making reads off of the pick and roll, especially when he comes off the screen. He needs to see all of his options quickly and get rid of the ball if he is looking to pass.
Free Throw Shooting
McCollum is a very good free throw shooter, with a consistent routine leading to a smooth release and follow-through. McCollum has continued to improve in his ability to get into the lane, draw contact and get to the free throw line. With more space to operate at the NBA level, he should find plenty of opportunity to attack the basket and look to draw contact.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
McCollum is a good on-ball defender, positioning himself well between his man and the basket, and moving well laterally. He reacts well to his man’s movements, and he understands angles well to catch up with his man if he gets beat on the first step. McCollum is capable of guarding either guard position, though he may have some difficulty adjusting to the speed of NBA point guards at first. McCollum is also very good at getting over the top of screens, and understands when he can choose to go under the screen against poor shooters. Off the ball, McCollum generally positions himself well, though like many college guards, he can get cheating too much towards help position. He is capable of pressuring the ball or passing lanes, though I would like to see him become capable of being a more physical defender. He is good at navigating through screens off the ball, especially making sure not to get caught in the lane area. He has very good defensive awareness, and is a strong leader on the defensive end, especially directing his teammates into position.
McCollum rebounds well for his size, and he has a good nose for where missed shots are going to go and getting to the spot first. He needs to work on boxing out, especially preventing offensive players from crashing from the perimeter. He can be quick after long rebounds and will often use that as an opportunity to push the ball in transition.
McCollum is very good in transition, and is capable of pushing the ball himself or running one of the wings to either spot up for a jumper or attack the basket. He is not exceptionally fast, but he knows how to draw transition defenders to him and make a move to go by them. He generally makes good decisions, though it would be good to see him set up others after drawing the defense on the break.
Heading into this past season, McCollum was one of the top senior prospects, and was cementing himself as one of the best in college before a foot injury sidelined him after 12 games. The injury may have slowed him a bit after his recovery, but all indications are is that he is 100% healthy. Plus, the traits that make McCollum a special player won’t be affected much by a few months lay off. He is a strong leader, a versatile scorer, and a good defender. He won’t need to take on such a scoring load in the NBA, so he should be able to show more of his ability to distribute. Capable of playing either the 1 or the 2, McCollum will be able to be a contributor from Day 1, and it isn’t far-fetched to say that he may have the biggest impact on his team his rookie season.
Draft Value: High 1st – Early-Mid Lottery – #3-9
There may be a lot of comparisons made between McCollum and Damian Lillard, and some bits are even true. McCollum is more versatile and a better defender though, and could make a similar impact next season.
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