Per tradition, ESPN’s Zach Lowe has selected his team of "Marc Gasol" all-stars. These particular all-stars are guys that Lowe loves to watch—but only those who have not otherwise been recognized with league-wide acclaim. This year, Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum made the reserves cut. Lowe’s criteria are as follows:
* If possible, no actual All-Stars. Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook are fun to watch. Duh.
* Ditto for the high-profile rookie phenoms we've been drooling over (or arguing about) all season; Kristaps Porzingis, Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner and others need not apply.
* You have to be more than a bit player. Fun guys like Willie Cauley-Stein, JaMychal Green and longtime favorite Kyle O'Quinn haven't hit the undefined Gasol minutes threshold.
* We use an All-Star-style 12-man roster with a realistic mix of guards, wings and big men.
* No Warriors! Andre Iguodala is a natural for this, but we've all written plenty on Golden State, and we'll write plenty more.
Here is what Lowe had to say about McCollum:
C.J. McCollum, G, Trail Blazers: The NBA's Dean Malenko: a man of 1,000 moves. Some guys have a magic crossover, in-and-out dribble, hesitation move or up-and-under around the rim. McCollum has all those at expert level, and he uses them to unleash hell from everywhere. He has shot better on off-the-bounce 3s than Damian Lillard. He's a floater master. And he's one of those lucky guys who can drive at full speed, hit the brakes and set his feet for a perfect straight up-and-down pull-up jumper.
McCollum has only hit about half his shots around the hoop this season, but he scores major style points for the way he contorts his body for a ridiculous array of scoop shots.
He's an intuitive mover within Terry Stotts' motion offense. He knows what the defense expects on this pitch play with Lillard, veers against that grain, and sprints at full speed even after he gets rid of the ball. Pause to catch your breath, and McCollum's gone.
Starters on Lowe’s team include Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, Jabari Parker of the Milwakee Bucks, and Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets.
Other reserves include Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, Jerami Grant of the Philadelphia 76ers, Boris Diaw of the San Antonio Spurs, Thaddeus Young of the Brooklyn Nets, and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Read Lowe’s full article, here.