Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen has reportedly taken a liking to combo guard CJ McCollum, and it's not hard to see why. The electrifying senior from Lehigh University is a natural scorer and has drawn numerous comparisons to reigning rookie of the year Damian Lillard. McCollum, 21, dominated the Patriot League for three years before shutting down for Lehigh's last 19 games with a broken foot.
With the 10th overall pick in the upcoming draft, Blazers management should pick CJ McCollum if he is still on the board. He was a substantial offensive threat in college, shooting 50 percent from both the field and from beyond the arc in twelve games as a senior. Like Lillard, McCollum is 6'3'' and is a gifted athlete with significant explosiveness. He is an aggressive player that gets to the line easily and takes advantage (85 % from the stripe).
The main weakness in CJ McCollum's game is that he is not an elite passer, and early lottery teams may pass on him because of this flaw. However, with one of the league's emerging stars at the point guard position, the Blazers don't need McCollum to distribute the ball at all. He could spend more time as a scoring guard, a position that he would be much more comfortable at. With all of his similarities to Damian Lillard, if McCollum turns out to be just as good as this season's ROY, then the Blazers would have a terrifying backcourt. Imagine a Northwest version of the Splash Brothers of Golden State, but a little smaller and a lot faster.
Of course, McCollum would also be an immediate upgrade over Eric Maynor as the Blazers' backup point guard. McCollum is a polished product and will have little trouble transitioning his game to the NBA level. His presence would allow Damian Lillard to play fewer minutes per game and will also revive the Blazers' infamously nonexistent bench production.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard have already expressed interest in becoming teammates in Portland, and the Blazers' front office has been impressed by the youngster. Blazer fans should hope that he's still available at pick No. 10. In a draft where the talent is questionable and the big men are softer than couch cushions, McCollum is the best fit for the Blazers. At worst, he's a sparkplug off the bench. At best, he's Lillard 2.0 and will take this young team to the playoffs.