Portland Trail Blazers No. 10 overall pick C.J. McCollum embraced the proving ground that is the NBA Summer League as his chance to prove he can score at an NBA level. He did just that, but he also took a lot of shots to do it.
He averaged 20.2 shots per game in a 40-minute league and when projected out to a 48-minute game, that would be more than Carmelo Anthony‘s league-leading 22.2 field goal attempts per game in 2012-13. That’s still OK, however, because the Blazers’ coaching staff gave him the green light. He was supposed to shoot and do so often. Now, he’ll have a full training camp and be able to pick up more nuances of the NBA game.
Again, the summer was McCollum’s chance to prove he belonged. He’s had to do it his entire basketball career, first as an undersized prep star and next as a mid-major standout among his counterparts from more elite programs. In the NBA, questions about his size as well as ability to score against the world’s best. Las Vegas was a small sample size of games, but if the trend is any indicator, McCollum will be able to contribute to the rotation right away.
He hit the game tying shot against the Chicago Bulls on July 16 in a 27-point output and showed a willingness to take charge with the game on the line. For someone with questions as to whether or not he could handle the large stage, that’s a major statement.
McCollum’s an example of a young player with many question marks who used the platform of the summer tournament to answer a lot of them and prove he belongs.
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