Sports Illustrated’s Rob Mahoney just helped make the world aware of what Portland Trail Blazer fans already know: CJ McCollum is a pro at terrorizing defenses.
In a feature article for SI.com Mahoney highlighted some of the quirks of McCollum’s game that make Portland’s starting shooting guard so effective. McCollum, for example, is among the league’s best at exploiting mid-range holes in the defense, inspiring Mahoney to label him a “drop-killer”:
No high-volume shooter in the league last season made a higher percentage on pull-up jumpers, and this time around only the astonishingly hot DeMar DeRozan has him beat... He and Lillard together are 'drop' killers; even lumbering bigs on other teams have to press up in the pick-and-roll to challenge the Blazers' creators lest they surrender what, in McCollum's case, damn near amounts to a 50–50 look.
Mahoney also highlights how McCollum uses an unorthodox shooting style to take advantage of unexpecting defenders:
It almost looks like a push shot; McCollum leans in, finishes with essentially a two-handed follow-through, and then lands with his momentum carrying him slightly forward. The balancing act wouldn't work for everyone, but McCollum keeps it smooth and executes the entire sequence in a snap... A defender has to stay on his toes to have any hope of challenging that release, even as McCollum's handle pushes them back on their heels. His every hesitation is powerful.