In a much-hyped debut for the Idaho Stampede, CJ McCollum had 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including six assists and six rebounds in 17 minutes during a Stampede loss to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Blazers rookie was a spark for the Stampede, who needed everything they could get from the No. 10 pick in last year’s draft.
McCollum looked comfortable with the ball in his hands as well as in the off-guard spot, much as he did during Summer League in 2013. Terry Stotts is looking to put him there to start, but it’s possible we see McCollum used to handle the ball in the same kind of split we see with Lillard and Williams on the floor now.
The rookie did look a little out-of-sorts, mostly on defense. Chalk that up to having new teammates and not having a feel for each other on switches, angles and other communication necessities that come with playing properly on that side of the ball.
Overall, McCollum was everything Portland expected of him in his first professional action since breaking his foot in October. His dribble looked smooth, and he showed balanced control of his body.
What he lacks in quickness he makes up for with excellent timing in his dribble moves and hesitation. His shooting stroke looked good, if a little off as he did not play with the starting unit. McCollum made an effort to attack the rim against Rio Grande Valley. That’s good news for Portland, who could use another penetrator.
McCollum will most likely return to the Blazers for the game against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 7, according to a report from Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
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