29-year-old C.J. McCollum has faced plenty of competition over his seven years in the NBA -- but perhaps none greater than the Golden State dynasty. Having lost to that team at least three teams, C.J. knows the pain of losing to a stacked super squad.
And while there's no changing the past, McCollum recently mentioned the Warriors in an appearance on "Let's Get Technical," where he asked Rasheed Wallace, who faced the infamous Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers, for some insight on battling superteams.
McCollum: “Two, well for one, I’m not gonna compare the Warriors to the Lakers cause it’s two different beasts. It’s just like … same animal, different beast. We’re dealing with different types of roadblocks. We lost to the Warriors … 2015, 2016, 2018, like they done stopped us from winning a championship a lot of times.
And it’s just more so about what you think you should have done differently, or would’ve done differently to make sure your teammates are ready for that stage. Because like, when you’re a dog, you’re a dog. But now you need other people to be stars in their role. How do you get the best out of them, and what advice would you have for me to get over that hump?”
Wallace: "So, you know they were always a thorn in our side, but I definitely know where you’re coming from with the frustration of losing in the Western Conference Finals and falling short or this and that, because we went through it as well, but I think what Bonzi said was key, though CJ.
We already know what you gonna do, you already know what Dame is gonna do. We know what certain guys are gonna do. So now, y’all have to install that same will in those bench players who might not be able to play a whole bunch of minutes. Just let them know, it’s the same way as college. No matter if you’re getting a minute, two minutes, or 35 or 40 minutes. When you’re out there, you’ve gotta make a difference.”
There are few teams in NBA history as dominant as the early 2000s Lakers. With Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox, and Horace Grant, they had a balanced inside-outside attack, predicated off the chemistry of the Shaq/Kobe duo.
The Warriors, of course, had plenty of star power as well -- with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and (later) Kevin Durant. With a heavy focus on three-point shooting, they played a much more modern style of basketball. They made five straight Finals appearances and won three Championships during the peak of their run.
While C.J. has yet to win a title with the Blazers, it seems the key to maximizing his team's chances rest in his role players. If he and Dame can help the other guys reach the peak of their potential, it could spell good news.