McCollum racked up 25 points (8-16 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 7-7 FT), three assists, two rebounds, and one steal over 34 minutes in Tuesday's opening night win over the Jazz.
McCollum picked up right where he left off last season as the Trail Blazers backcourt combined for 62 points. The NBA's reigning Most Improved Player connected on both his three point attempts and all seven of his free throws. He is firmly cemented as the team's second offensive option and should see plenty of opportunities going forward. He's a viable contributor in points and threes who will likely have his big scoring nights throughout the year.
With backcourt mate Damian Lillard struggling to the tune of a 1-for-10 shooting night in 18 minutes, McCollum took on more of the scoring responsibilities and was able to hit 20 points for the second game in a row. After shooting 28.2 percent from the field over his first three preseason appearances, McCollum seems to have found his stroke just as the regular season is about to begin, going 15-for-31 (48.3%) in his last two contests.
McCollum totaled 20 points (8-17 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 2-3 FT), five rebounds and four assists over 29 minutes in Thursday's 109-108 preseason loss to the Clippers.
The fourth-year guard shook off what's been a rough preseason shooting-wise to post his first effort of over 40 percent shooting in the four games he's played in. The improved accuracy resulted in an exhibition-high scoring total for McCollum, who also drained multiple three-pointers for the first time as well. The 25-year-old's usage is as prolific as ever through the first four exhibition contests, as he's averaging just under 16 shot attempts in a shade over 25 minutes per game.
McCollum has put together three consecutive ragged performances to open the exhibition season, shooting just 13-for-46 (28.3%) over that span. Tuesday's effort was the worst of those outings, with McCollum posting his fewest points in what was his most playing time of the preseason. Despite the early struggles, McCollum shouldn't be expected to take a major step back from his breakout 2015-16 campaign, during which he averaged 20.8 points per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from three-point range.
McCollum is coming off a breakout season with Portland where he averaged 20.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds over 35 minutes per game. At just 24 years old, McCollum's future as a combo guard in the NBA looks bright, and the move also solidifies Portland's backcourt of McCollum and point guard Damian Lillard for the next few years. McCollum will once again be the second-best scoring option next season behind Lillard on a Trail Blazer team on the rise.
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