Name: CJ McCollum
Conference: Patriot League
Years of college experience: 4 years (injured for much of senior season)
Accomplishments: First Team All-American, 2-time Patriot League player of year, 3-time All-Patriot League 1st team, Patriot League tournament MVP (DNP much of senior season, therefore only one senior year award)
Lane agility: 11.02
3/4 court sprint: 3.32
Max vertical: 38.5
Standing vertical: 32
Bench press: 13 reps
CJ McCollum is a flat out scorer, that much is clear. However, he has shown the ability to do more than just put the ball in the hoop. His ball handling, while not necessarily elite, is certainly above average. McCollum has a great mid-range game, and he has also shown the ability to finish in the lane. Perhaps his most underrated attribute is his ability to perform in big games; CJ has the ability to shine in the spotlight. As a 15th-seed, he lead Lehigh over the 2nd-seeded Duke in the 2012 NCAA Tournament with a brilliant 30 point, 6 rebound, and 6 assist performance. That performance had Duke coaching legend Mike Krzyzewski singing his praises. Coach K has been around for a long time, and if that kind of legend says that “[CJ] being on the floor makes everybody better,” CJ must have been playing a truly elite game.
CJ has been knocked for his defense. Many scouts question his ability to cover the athletic brand of point guards that the NBA is filled with. In addition to the defensive problem, CJ may not have the skill set to be a PG on the offensive side of the ball at the next level. His quickness is not a strength relative to other NBA point guards, yet his height and strength are not necessarily at the shooting guard level. He never averaged more than 3.5 assists through his years at Lehigh, and he doesn’t seem to have elite court vision. Again, that may be more acceptable if CJ had elite level quickness. Sadly, he doesn’t have that kind of quickness. In addition to all of his weaknesses, CJ played for Lehigh. Lehigh is by no means an NCAA powerhouse, and therefore the team plays against relatively weak opposition. This presents the risk that CJ’s positive numbers may not directly transfer into the NBA.
Freshman year: 19.1 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, .459 field goal percentage, 1.3 steals per game, .421 3 pt. field goal percentage
Sophomore year: 21.8 points per game, 7.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, .399 field goal percentage, 2.5 steals per game, .315 3 pt. field goal percentage
Junior year: 21.9 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game, .443 field goal percentage, 2.6 steals per game, .341 3 pt. field goal percentage
Senior year: 23.9 points per game, 5.0 rebounds per game, 2.9 assists per game, .495 field goal percentage, 1.4 steals per game, .516 3 pt. field goal percentage
Should the Sixers draft him?
Drafting CJ would be a real risk. Recent examples of similar risks showing positive results are Weber State’s Damian Lillard, and more similarly, Davidson’s Stephen Curry. Stephen Curry had many of the same issues that CJ has, and he showed many of the same strengths as well. Stephen Curry is now a bona fide star in the NBA. Sadly, drafting a guy like CJ does not guarantee a return of Stephen Curry. The Sixers’ roster is deepest at the guard positions, and many are skeptical as to CJ’s potential benefit to the current roster.
That being said, both Dorrell Wright and Nick Young are free agents this off season. If we let at least one of those two guards walk, then either re-sign Andrew Bynum or bring in an Al Jefferson-type player, CJ McCollum could fit right into our system. Remember, the NBA is shifting into a smaller, quicker league. It would be a risk, but it is certainly possible that Jrue and CJ could make a dynamic backcourt. That backcourt would be coupled with Evan Turner as a scoring 6th man and with Thaddeus Young as a developing young forward. That situation would shape a very attractive future for the team. Ultimately, the Sixers will not have the ability to draft a game-changing big man in the draft due to the weak draft class, and our best move is to draft CJ Mccollum. If the front office can draft CJ, and then either bring in a big time center or resign Andrew Bynum, the Sixers will have the potential to be a real contender in the East next season.