A panel of six NBA experts from ESPN has ranked who will perform well in the NBA bubble in Orlando, listing Portland Trail Blazers CJ McCollum at 27th and Damian Lillard at 11th. Tim Bontemps, Kirk Goldsberry, Tim MacMahon, Kevin Pelton, Jorge Sedano and Andre Snellings created independent lists, which were collated into the overall set of 50 players. Kirk Goldsberry says of McCollum at 27 that he needs to bring the hot hand to Orlando.
When Portland played its biggest game of the year last season, McCollum was the best player on the court — scoring 37 points, putting on a midrange clinic and propelling the Blazers past the Nuggets in a huge Game 7 road win.
Lillard edges out Russell Westbrook at 11, and Kevin Pelton notes that while the Blazers’ potential for the playoffs is uncertain, Lillard stands out regardless.
Lillard is the only player in the top 22 who’s not certain to advance to the playoffs, a testament to his individual brilliance this season. Lillard averaged a career-high 28.9 PPG while also posting the best true shooting percentage (61.9%) of his career, which makes the Blazers a scary playoff foe.
You can read more of the rankings here.