C.J. McCollum – Portland Trailblazers Shooting Guard
By PDX People
PORTLAND, Ore. – There’s no doubt that people from Portland Oregon love their Trailblazers including shooting guard C.J. McCollum.
Born in Canton Ohio in 1991, Christian James McCollum, or C.J. as he’s known, was a standout player at Glen Oak High School before going to college at Lehigh University.
Once his college career ended he was drafted by the Trailblazers in the 2013 draft and instantly made an impact on the team when he averaged 21 points and about four rebounds in each game that he played.
On October 27, 2014, the Trail Blazers exercised their third-year team option on McCollum’s rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2015–16 season. On April 29, 2015, McCollum scored then career-high 33 points in Portland’s Game 5, first-round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
On September 30, 2015, the Trail Blazers exercised their fourth-year team option on McCollum’s rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2016–17 season. With the departures of Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez, McCollum was elevated to the starting shooting guard spot for the 2015–16 season, teaming up with point guard Damian Lillard. On October 28, 2015, McCollum scored a career-high 37 points (including 22 points in the first quarter) in the Trail Blazers’ 112–94 season opening win over the New Orleans Pelicans. With an injury to Lillard in late December, McCollum moved over to the point. On December 27, he recorded 35 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a 98–94 win over the Sacramento Kings. No Blazers player in the previous 29 years had put up numbers similar to McCollum’s near triple-double. Clyde Drexler had at least 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on five occasions. McCollum returned to the starting shooting guard on January 4 following the return of Lillard from injury. On February 12, he was named as a participant in the 2016 Three-Point Contest. On April 5, he recorded his eighth 30-point game of the season in a 115–107 win over the Sacramento Kings. McCollum finished the regular season with an average of 20.8 points per game, while Damian Lillard averaged 25.1 – making them the first backcourt in Blazers’ history to average 20 or more points apiece. McCollum subsequently earned NBA Most Improved Player honors for the 2015–16 season.
McCollum helped the Trail Blazers defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 4–2 in the first round of the playoffs, but in their second-round match-up with the Golden State Warriors, the Trail Blazers were defeated, going down 4–1. In Game 5 of their series with the Warriors, McCollum had his third 27-point game of the playoffs in a 125–121 loss that ended their postseason run.
On July 27, 2016, McCollum signed a four-year contract extension with the Trail Blazers. In the Trail Blazers’ season opener on October 25, McCollum scored 25 points in a 113–104 win over the Utah Jazz. Four days later, he recorded 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a career-high three blocks in a 115–113 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. On November 6, he tied his career high with 37 points in a 100–94 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 20, he scored 33 points and hit a career-high tying six three-pointers in a 129–109 win over the Brooklyn Nets. On December 10, he made a career-high seven three-pointers and had 34 points in a 118–111 loss to the Indiana Pacers. On January 1, 2017, McCollum set a new career high with 43 points in a 95–89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. On January 13, he scored 26 points in a 115–109 loss to the Orlando Magic, extending his streak to eight consecutive games with at least 25 points—the third-longest in Portland history. Only Geoff Petrie (11 games) and Clyde Drexler (9) have longer streak among Blazer players. On February 7, he scored 32 points, the last two on a runner from the top of the lane with 0.9 seconds left to give the Trail Blazers a 114–113 win over the Dallas Mavericks. On March 28, he had a 39-point effort in a 122–113 win over Denver. The Trail Blazers finished the regular season with a 41–41 record and entered the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.
On April 16, 2017, McCollum scored a playoff career-best 41 points in a 121–109 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of their first-round series, becoming just the eighth Blazers player with a 40-point playoff performance.
Due to a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area during a preseason game, McCollum missed the Trail Blazers’ season opener. In his season debut on October 20, 2017, McCollum scored 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting to lead the Blazers past the Indiana Pacers 114–96. On November 7, 2017, McCollum led Portland with 36 points in a 98–97 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 25, 2017, McCollum scored 26 points, including seven straight during a 10–0 game-closing run, to help the Trail Blazers overcome a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Washington Wizards 108–105. On January 1, 2018, he scored 25 of his 32 points after halftime, including the tiebreaking basket with 56.5 seconds remaining in overtime, to help the Trail Blazers beat the Chicago Bulls 124–120. On January 31, 2018, McCollum scored a franchise-record 28 points in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 50 through three periods before heading to the bench, as the Trail Blazers defeated the Bulls 124–108. He joined Damian Lillard, Damon Stoudamire, Brandon Roy, Andre Miller, Clyde Drexler and Geoff Petrie as Trail Blazers players to score 50 points or more.
Committed to Portland
As he’s grown as a player over the last 5 years so has his love of Portland Oregon and the PDX People who show up for Trailblazer games
Thankfully, the Trailblazes are not considering trading McCollum at this time and this was music to his ears.
“I like the team that we have,” McCollum said. “Obviously it’s (the team’s) decision to try to decide how we can get better from here, whether that be through trade, free agency, draft … or internal development. But I like the team that we have. I think we’re growing, continuing to find ways to get better and improving.”