Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts offered some thoughts on the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League play of rookie guard CJ McCollum and some of his other reserves during an in-game interview that aired on NBA TV.
Here's a transcript.
He's doing much of the same things he did last game. He has a great offensive skillset, he can shoot, he can drive. I've been very pleased with his ability to run the point. They're being very aggressive with our pick and rolls, I think we have to make better decisions as far as out of the pick and rolls and making them pay. CJ has shown in a game and a half that he has a skillset that will translate to the NBA.
First thing that jumps out about McCollum
The first thing is his versatility. He will probably be coming off the bench, Damian Lillard will start, Wes Matthews at the two. his versatility to play the point and to play with Damian, to have two play-makers on the court at the same time. He's a smart young man, he's learning the NBA game already, he's very interested in improving. The No. 1 thing is his versatility. Last year, Damian led the league in minutes played, so letting Damian rest a little more and to get him off the ball was a priority for us in the offseason.
Almost a crowded backcourt now?
What Neil Olshey has done with the roster over the offseason is really going to be good for us. We have versatility. CJ will be able to play one and two. We have Dorell Wright who can play some three and four. We'll have some scoring off the bench. Thomas Robinson has added some strength to our bench. The versatility of our roster will allow us to do some things we didn't do last year.
Will Barton and Thomas Robinson
With Will, last year he got an opportunity to play a few more minutes towards the end of the season. He's great in the open court, he worked hard in June to hone and refine his game. He loves to play up and down. He kind of slashes to the basket, not necessarily a great shooter right now. He's going to work hard on that. He rebounds very well from the two guard position. He's versatile, can play some two and three. Here in the Summer League he's showing the ability to have the ball in his hands and get us into the offense.
Thomas Robinson was the fifth pick in the draft last year. He's very strong, very powerful. Last year was a disappointing year for him, playing on two different teams and being traded twice. For us, he gives us some strength, we have Robin Lopez but with Thomas behind LaMarcus [Aldridge] he'll be able to shore up our defense and our strength inside.
A good opportunity for fresh start for Thomas Robinson
I think it will be a great fit. We were very fortunate to get a player of his talent, at his age, at this stage of his career. I think people have to realize, in both those situations, both those trades involved the Houston Rockets who were obviously clearing space to get Dwight Howard. Both trades he was involved in were financial decisions as much as basketball decisions.
I've been very pleased with Meyers so far in a game and a half. Our primary focus with him has been on the defensive end, we have to improve our defense. He's protecting the paint, the rim, particularly in the first half, he did a good job of coming to penetration and changing and altering shots. That's been our focus. Obviously we want to work on the offense [too], he's got a nice touch, he can shoot threes, he's got a good perimeter shot. For us to improve next year, we have a lot of guys who can put the ball in the basket, we need to shore up our defense. That's been our focus and emphasis with him.
New frontcourt depth will take weight off of LaMarcus Aldridge's shoulders
It is. JJ Hickson did a very good job for us at center, he averaged a double-double. For us to get better, I think we were the worst team in the league at defending the paint and shots at the rim. I think between those three guys [Lopez, Robinson, Leonard] that will be shored up. Because Meyers and Robin do such a good job of blocking out I think that will free up some rebounds for LaMarcus, it wouldn't surprise me if he has an even better year next year.
Last year's bench
Our bench last year had trouble scoring. I liked our bench, Jared Jeffries, Sasha Pavlovic, Ronnie Price, they were veterans that knew how to play but we really struggled to score. I tried to keep two of our main scorers on the court most of the time. Our bench played hard but scoring became a little bit of an issue.
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