C.J. McCollum Will Make Pro Debut in D-League, Not with Trail Blazers

Grant RindnerContributor IIIJanuary 2, 2014

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 21:  C.J. McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers smiles before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on December 21, 2013 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Can you imagine what the Blazers would be doing right now if they had C.J. McCollum?

It's a question both Portland Trail Blazers diehards and general NBA fans have been asking for months, and we're one step closer to the answer, albeit not exactly in the form we may have been expecting.

Per a press release from NBA.com, prized rookie C.J. McCollum will be making his pro debut not with the Blazers but with Portland's D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede.

The Trail Blazers, humming along with one of the best records in the league, have been without the 10th overall selection in the draft since he fractured his foot in training camp.

McCollum is expected to play in the Stampede's games on Jan. 3 and 4, according to the press release.

In his final season at Lehigh, McCollum averaged 23.9 points, five rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting a mind-boggling 51.6 percent from three-point range. However, he missed most of the year due to foot ailments.

McCollum played well in the 2013 Las Vegas Summer League, notching 21 points, four boards and 3.4 dimes per contest.

The Blazers' improved bench has been key in their hot start to the year, but their production off the pine has cooled off lately. The team has been heavily reliant on Mo Williams, effectively their only shot-creator off the bench, and while Williams is averaging a solid 8.9 points and 4.7 assists, he is shooting just 39.9 percent and does not possess McCollum's elite off-the-dribble quickness.

McCollum will be able to play both behind and alongside Damian Lillard, and gives Portland another guard who can break down opposing defenses and knock down open threes.

His history of foot problems is certainly scary, but if McCollum can capitalize on his time in the D-League and return to Rip City healthy, this team could find itself looking even scarier by the time the playoffs roll around.