Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has had, by his own lofty standards, a rough 2018-19 regular season. Though his per-minute scoring is up and his True Shooting Percentage remains unchanged from last season, he’s averaging slightly fewer shot attempts, slightly fewer points per game, and his three-point shooting percentage has dropped precipitously. As a result, McCollum has borne the brunt of criticism for Portland’s decent-but-not-great 22-17 record.
After McCollum missed a potential game-tying shot in Portland’s narrow loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder last night, Jason Quick of The Athletic collected quotes about McCollum’s performance from Head Coach Terry Stotts and McCollum himself [subscription required].
When pressed about McCollum’s play, Stotts responded:
“I think he is giving good effort. He’s probably not shooting the ball as well as he would like, or we would like, but I think he is competing. He was guarding [Russell] Westbrook 9who [sic] finished with 31 points). Unfortunately for CJ, people are going to tie his play into how he’s shooting the ball. He hasn’t shot the ball as well as we expect, or he expects … so unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the sole determinant of how he’s playing this year.”
McCollum offered this:
“I’m not happy about it,” McCollum said. “I gotta do better. I have to figure out ways to help contribute. Nights like tonight, when the defense is loading up, you just try to make the right plays, and when the opportunity presents itself, you gotta be able to knock down the shot.”
“I can shoot 1,000 shots. I can go into the gym and get an hour and half in by myself like I always do … it has to translate. And it will.”
McCollum is averaging 20.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game for the Trail Blazers this season on 45.5% shooting from the floor, 32.9% shooting from the three-point arc.