CJ McCollum has blossomed into one of the top players in the NBA. From the time he got drafted up until now, he’s worked on his game and showed much improvement over the years. Coming from a mid-major school, McCollum knew what hard work all was about.
McCollum is 6-foot-3, but he did not always have the height in his younger days. In high school, he had a big growth spurt that really helped him a lot on the court.
CJ McCollum’s transformation in the NBA
When McCollum first came into the league, he got off to a slow start. In the 2013 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers took him with the tenth overall pick. McCollum enjoyed a successful career in college at Lehigh University. Playing at a mid-major school, he did not get the notice and recognition as those players that played at the big-time schools. But he continued to work hard and play at a high level.
During his rookie season, he missed the first six weeks of the season due to a foot injury. He only played 38 games in his first season and averaged 5.3 points per game. The next season McCollum played in 78 games, but his offensive production was not there just yet. He only averaged 6.8 points per game in his sophomore season. McCollum struggled in his first two seasons and was determined to put in the work during the off-season after his second season.
Going into his third season, McCollum improved tremendously. He stepped into a bigger role for the Trail Blazers and became one of the team’s top players. McCollum went from averaging single digits in points to averaging 20.8 points per game in his third season. He played with a lot more confidence and became a scorer in Portland. At the end of the 2015-16 season, he won the Most Improved Player award.
CJ McCollum continued to play at a high-level
After the 2015-16 season, McCollum continued to take his game to the next level. McCollum and Damian Lillard quickly became one of the best backcourts in the NBA. While playing the guard position, McCollum improved on his mid-range and long-range shooting and could drive to the basket as well. During the 2016-17 season, he averaged 23 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game.
McCollum established himself as one of the Western Conference’s top players, and opposing teams knew he would be a threat on offense. This season, he was averaging 22.5 points, 4.3 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game before all sports were put on a halt. This is the fifth straight season that McCollum has averaged 20 or more points per game. After getting off to a slow start in his first two seasons, McCollum quickly became a top player in the league.
CJ McCollum’s surprising growth spurt
When McCollum was in high school, he was not the tallest player on the court. In fact, he was one of the smallest players. During his freshman year, he was 5-2, but he played like he was much taller than that.
At the start of his junior year, that growth spurt finally hit for McCollum, and he was now standing 6-3. He grew quickly, and he would go on to have success in college, and now he’s having that success as an NBA player.