Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J McCollum has evolved into one of the best mid-range shooters in the league, and a ton of his jumpers converted just inside the three-point line was credited to his playing style.
McCollum has stepped up his game to another level following the departure of All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, averaging a career-high 20.7 points, 4.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 35 minutes per game for the Blazers (22-26), who are surprisingly still in contention for a playoff spot.
According to NBA.com, McCollum is shooting 46.6 percent from the perimeter this season, which is the highest field-goal percentage from midrange among anyone who took at least 250 shots from that area on the floor this season. In addition, he also attempted the 12th highest mid-range field goal attempts in the league.
When asked by Oregonian reporter Mike Richman, McCollum said taking mid-range jumpers has been part of his game since his early hoops days. He believed that most defenders in the league would live their opponents to shoot contested jumpers from the perimeter, and that has been the key for him since he prefers to take those kind of shots.
“It’s been a part of my game for life. It’s tougher to finish in the lane so you’ve got to find different areas to score efficiently and the mid-range contested shot is a shot a lot of teams will live with,” McCollum says. “And it’s a shot I’m willing to live with as well just because I’ve gotten so many shots at it and I’m comfortable with it.”
McCollum is a product of the Blazers’ youth revolution its front-office, led by Neil Olshey, has initiated to offset the void left by Aldridge and keep them relevant in a tough Western Conference by adding young players who still possess upside.
“When LaMarcus made his decision, we shifted gears as quickly as possible,” Olshey told Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. “And that’s how we were able to build the infrastructure of even adding more younger guys around the same career arc as Damian Lillard. A lot of those guys have out-produced their contract, a lot of them are working to still do that.
Photo Courtesy: Real GM