NBA Draft Profile: CJ McCollum


6-3, 197 lbs.

School: Lehigh

Class: Senior


CJ McCollum


STRENGTHS: Anyone who saw McCollum light up Duke for 30 points in last year’s shocking NCAA Tournament upset understands that this dude can ball. Mike Kryzyzewski called McCollum “the best player on the floor” that night. It wasn’t even close. McCollum has a lethal combination of quickness, handle and shooting touch that makes him one of the toughest checks in the country. His jumper compares to Stephen Curry’s because he can get it off with ease, and it is about as smooth as Bailey’s. Though McCollum only played in 12 games this season (he broke his ankle in January), he was shooting a ridiculous 51.6 % from three-point range and averaging an NCAA-leading 23.9 points per game. McCollum showed the ability to absolutely take over games, as evidenced by an early-season win at Quinnipiac in which he scored 14 straight down the stretch to help Lehigh pull away. Some scouts compare him to Damian Lillard and while McCollum isn’t a pure point guard, the comparison rings true because of his scoring and passing ability. He could be a breakout star at the next level.

WEAKNESSES: The injury is alarming, especially because we didn’t get to see a full encore performance from last season. McCollum doesn’t have an NBA body at this point, and like Stephen Curry, many wonder whether or not he can hold up through the rigors of an 82-game season. He’s going to need to get stronger. McCollum isn’t a true point guard and he would probably be better off at the 2, but his size (6-3) and slight build may prevent teams from putting him there. He shows good court vision, but hasn’t shown an exceptional ability to facilitate for teammates. Part of that may be the level of teammates he played with at Lehigh, but there is some concern that he’s more of a scorer than facilitator.

BOTTOM LINE: McCollum is one of the most creative players in this draft, and there is a blueprint for success for him in the NBA in guys like Damian Lillard and Stephen Curry. His skills are enough to thrive at the NBA level, but his frame and potential for injury may scare some teams off. If he can stay healthy and develop into a true point guard who can get his own shot, he could end up being the best player in this draft.

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