Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is here in town on this All-Star weekend, but not for long. He is heading out on Saturday morning, off to New York. Which is a shame �� he’s always been a thoughtful and approachable guy, as well as talented, the kind of player the league should be highlighting.
McCollum will not be playing in the All-Star game on Sunday, which is understandable, because of the logjam of great players in the West. He was a near-miss on that front.
But less understandable is the snubbing he got from the NBA in the 3-Point Contest. He has been in it the past two years, and he is shooting 42.1 percent from the arc this year �� better than six of the eight players who will be shooting on Saturday night. So I asked McCollum why he was not part of the Saturday night contest.
It can be good for us offensively and defensively, starting all over and breaking everything down from scratch will be good for this team, Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told reporters after the game, via ESPN. Even guys who have been here, I think it will be good. It will take some time to do that but we’ve got the All-Star break coming up… We’ll try to get those guys up to speed as quickly as possible.
The best part about Ball’s passing? The ball doesn’t stick in his hands. According to NBA.com, he averages 3.98 seconds per touch and 3.37 dribbles per touch, both of which are low marks for someone who generates as many assists as he does. It makes him an easy player to build around �� especially if he continues to trend upwards as a spot-up shooter �� because he’s a point guard who doesn’t need to dominate the ball to get the most out of his teammates.
Ball’s go-ahead passes are a perfect example of that. To go along with his 7.1 assists per game, Ball has already established himself as a walking triple-double with an average of 7.1 rebounds per game. (The only guards pulling down a greater number of rebounds per game this season are Russell Westbrook and Ben Simmons, and Ball doesn’t possess Westbrook’s athleticism or Simmons’ size.) Ball has struggled to turn those rebounds into scoring opportunities for himself, but it didn’t take long for his teammates to learn that he will reward them with easy baskets if they take off as soon as he secures a defensive rebound.