CJ McCollum is thriving in New Orleans as the primary ball-handler as Pelicans go on a four-game win streak and inch closer to the play-in tournament.
Zion-less New Orleans Pelicans are ruffling some feathers lately. The addition of CJ McCollum prior to the all-star break is doing wonders for them.
They have been blowing out teams this past week by 20+ points each game. If the Pelicans manage to win the upcoming matchup against Denver Nuggets, it will be their longest win-streak this season.
Tonight against the 4th seeded Utah Jazz in full capacity CJ McCollum and co won by 34 points. Brandon Ingram and CJ combined for 53 points to take the Pelicans a step closer to overtaking the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference.
CJ McCollum says the Pelicans situation is a match made in heaven
The duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum was considered to be one of the greatest backcourts in the league. They spent over 8 seasons together and formed a very good on/off-court relationship. However, Damian Lillard was the #1 guy for the Blazers and CJ never tried to change that dynamic even if it meant taking a back seat.
They took 8 consecutive trips to the playoffs and reached the Western Conference Finals as well in 2019. But somehow due to injuries and other reasons, the Blazers completely derailed this season. The organization chose to completely rebuild around Dame and traded CJ to the Pelicans.
Ever since his arrival, CJ has been dropping 30 every other night. He has assumed the veteran role with the young core of the Pelicans. And with Zion out McCollum is also handling the ball more.
“I’m the primary ball handler now,” McCollum said. “Before, Dame was the primary ball-handler.”
CJ is extremely happy to be in New Orleans. He has spent his entire career in Lillard’s shadow but now he gets to show how far he can lead a team.
“I’m really liking how I’m being utilized. I’m loving the situation. I think it’s a match made in heaven. I’m happy to be here,” CJ added.
He is currently averaging 26.3 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.8 rebounds in 9 games with the Pelicans. They’re not enough to compare with the eight seasons he spent with the Blazers but definitely an improvement.
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