Posted June 27, 2013

C.J. McCollum selected No. 10 by Trail Blazers in NBA draft

2013 NBA draft

C.J. McCollum averaged 23.9 points and 2.9 assists in 12 games at Lehigh last season.

C.J. McCollum averaged 23.9 points and 2.9 assists in 12 games at Lehigh last season. (Greg Nelson/SI)

The Trail Blazers selected C.J. McCollum with the No. 10 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday. Here’s a look at McCollum and how he fits with Portland:

Bio: Lehigh | Senior | Point Guard/Shooting Guard

Vitals: 6-3, 197 pounds

2012-13 Statistics: 23.9 points, 5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 49.5 percent shooting in 12 games.

Strengths: McCollum can fill it up: He averaged 19.1 points as a freshman, 21.8 as a sophomore, 21.9 as a junior (including a memorable 30-point performance in an NCAA tournament upset of Duke) and 23.9 in a senior season cut short when he broke his foot in January. He was off to a terrific start before the injury, shooting 51.6 percent (33-of-64) from three-point range. (McCollum recovered in time to participate in pre-draft workouts.) Along with being a dynamic scorer, McCollum rebounds very well for his position and records a lot of steals.

Weaknesses: McCollum was a scoring guard at Lehigh, and scouts have questioned whether he can make the transition to NBA point guard. If he can’t, will he be able to flourish as an undersized shooting guard?

What Scouts Say: “Love the kid. Has intelligence and a little bit of toughness. He’s not a true point guard, but he can play a little combo. He gets his own shot a lot for someone who doesn’t look like he’s blowing by people. His foot injury is no concern.”

Team Fit: The comparisons between McCollum and Portland point guard Damian Lillard are easy, given the small-school connection and the fact that both are natural scorers who handle the ball. It will be fascinating to see how much and how often the two can play together, if only for the combination of shooting accuracy and shot creation at both guard spots. Regardless, this is a pick that fits the Blazers’ clear need for depth, even at a position that was seemingly their most stable. McCollum will play with Lillard a bit and play behind him as a functional replacement, ensuring that the Blazers won’t go a minute without having a sweet-shooting guard in control of the ball.

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