DeAndre Jordan, Kemba Walker, George Hill, Lou Williams, Enes Kanter, Julius Randle. These are just a few of the names that have popped up in recent trade talks around the NBA. Now as much as I would love to discuss how my Celtics should jump all over Julius Randle, I am here to talk about someone who is not circulating the rumor mill: CJ McCollum.
With all of the Trailblazers news out there today, it is only fitting.
Marc Stein predicted that the Lehigh product and fan favorite may be moved sometime during 2018. Recently, teammate Damian Lillard met with owner Paul Allen to discuss a myriad of subjects. Via ESPN we know that Lillard and Allen conversed about potential trade targets as well as his point guard’s confidence in Terry Stotts. Lillard also inquired about the ability of this team to become a title contender. There were no reports regarding fellow playmaker CJ McCollum.
That being said, I believe that Dame’s sidekick may have to be moved in order to take this team to the next level. Although they possess different styles of play, these two guards share some similarities in regards to their production. The only difference is, Lillard often holds the edge in some statistical comparisons. As shown below, he is slightly better in True Shooting percentage, Offensive and Defensive Rebounding percentage, Usage percentage and Total Win Share. Dame is markedly better in PER and Assist Rate percentage. He launches up more 3s while also dishing out more assists; a recipe for success in today’s league (see Curry, Steph or Harden, James). These two players are both phenomenal fits in the modern game but, Portland should be narrowing in on how they can accentuate and compliment Lillard’s game, not McCollum’s.
Of course, the debate between Lillard and CJ could go either way. I side with Dame but I can guarantee you that there are tons of CJ fans out there. If you do not believe me, just check out @TheHoopCentral once this blog drops! Regardless, one of these guys should be moved to adapt to today’s wing heavy/switchy game. Ready for this? As a team, the Trailblazers have the 4th best 3 point percentage in the league but, they are the 7th worst team at actually jacking up 3s! The Lillard and CJ combo are responsible for 14 of their 25 treys per game. Their most played lineups always have some combination of non-spacers like Evan Turner, Nurkic, or Moe Harkless.
I know what you are thinking – how does swapping a shooter in McCollum for another shooter make any sense? Well, it depends who you swap him for. A CJ for Kevin Love trade not only makes sense for both teams involved but, would allow for Kevin Love to draw big men out of the paint. Sending Love back to his Northwest Pacific roots would bring some much needed court space for Dame. A higher usage rate for Lillard would be a good thing, as Portland could fully take advantage of his talents and watch a masterful Love/Dame pick and roll game.
Unfortunately, GM Neil Oshey has managed to let a plethora of spacers leave Portland via trade or free agency (Crabbe, Aldridge, Barton). If Oshey could land two floor spacers for CJ, he should seriously consider it. Would my Bucks fans be down for a Kris Middleton and Tony Snell for CJ McCollum trade?
Or maybe there is a way to get CJ to the Knicks. Lighting up Madison Square Garden alongside KP would set the league on fire. Does San Antonio want a marquee player to keep Kawhi happy? Does Philadelphia want to make another win now move? Unless the Trailblazers want to spend Lillard’s prime as an eternal 5th seed, Neil Oshey should be making some phone calls around February 8th.