NBA Draft 2013: Portland Trail Blazers select C.J. McCollum with 10th pick

Mike Ehrmann

The Portland Trail Blazers will have an exciting young backcourt, as they look to pair Lehigh point guard C.J. McCollum with Damian Lillard.

Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum is headed to the Portland Trail Blazers as the No. 10 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. McCollum scored very efficiently in a small conference, and he will be looking to follow in the footsteps of small-school success story and Weber State point guard — and his new teammate — Damian Lillard.

The draft has been pretty haywire thus far, and McCollum goes about where he was expected: in the low single digits or high teens. The impressive scorer is the first senior off the board.

McCollum posted efficient scoring numbers and hit 51.6 of his three-point attempts for Lehigh last season, but he only suited up for 12 games due to a foot injury. His best college moment was in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, when he led the 15th-seeded Mountain Hawks in a major upset over second-seeded Duke.

His pick-and-roll game is expected to translate well to the NBA. He has excellent shooting range and a quick first step off the dribble that should allow him to make offensive contributions early in his career. But until he gets an opportunity to prove himself in the NBA, questions will linger about the level of competition McCollum faced in college and how well his athleticism will translate to the next level.

McCollum joins a Blazers team that includes Lillard, last year's Rookie of the Year. Like Lillard, McCollum is a scoring point guard and, like Lillard, he comes to the NBA after spending four years at a small school. But while those comparisons could make the pick somewhat redundant, their similarities are the reason why it could work out so well.

McCollum's maturity could make him an immediate impact player, and he isn't pigeonholed into being a point guard. Though he's undersized, McCollum has the ability to play off the ball with Lillard running the show, and his presence will help alleviate the pressure for Lillard to always handle the ball, as well.

McCollum will be able to stretch the floor, create open shots for Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Wes Matthews via drive-and-kick plays, and run the pick-and-roll with power forward LaMarcus Aldridge.

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