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C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard together? Sounds like fun.
Prediction: The C.J. McCollum-Damian Lillard backcourt will excel.
Alright, yeah, this isn't technically just about C.J. McCollum. But the McCollum and Damian Lillard backcourt will be a big part of the Portland Trail Blazers' future, so seeing how they actually play together will be interesting. And here's to thinking they play well sooner rather than later.
Whether or not the McCollum-Lillard pairing succeeds this year will really come down to how well they mesh offensively, because they're almost certain to be torn apart on the other end. Lillard was terrible defensively last season, and to be perfectly honest, McCollum doesn't project to be all that much better.
The good news is that they could be awesome offensively. Lillard and McCollum should be able to play on and off the ball interchangeably, and they each bring a ton of stuff to the table. Lillard was a surprisingly strong pick-and-roll guard last season (he ranked 23rd in the league) and hit 41 percent of his spot-up threes (per Synergy Sports Technology).
It's a bit tricky to project how McCollum will do, as the Patriot League didn't provide the stiffest of competition. But he looked fantastic in the 12 games he played (he broke his foot just a bit into the season), running the offense to perfection and hitting on a whopping 52 percent of his threes (on 64 attempts).
Again, they'll definitely struggle defensively, but once they learn how to play together, they could score like crazy. It's bold, but I'm guessing that most lineups featuring both players end up among the Trail Blazers' best in terms of net rating.