After going through a surprising and heartbreaking exit from the Portland Trail Blazers, CJ McCollum is happy with the New Orleans Pelicans. The guard joined a team that slowly improved its level and it's now competing to get a play-in tournament spot in the Western Conference.
The addition of CJ has helped Willie Green's team, and he feels extremely comfortable with his situation. Talking about the differences between his role on the Pelicans and Blazers, McCollum pointed out that he's in charge of the ball now, which didn't happen at Moda Center.
“I’m the primary ball handler now,” McCollum said, via Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “Before, Dame was the primary ball handler.”
This move has paid off for the Pels, who have scored more points since they added McCollum to the roster. Their numbers have gone up and they hope to keep things this way for the rest of the season.
The Pelicans rank second in points scored per 100 possessions since they traded for McCollum. Post-trade, they are averaging 102.3 points per 100 possessions in half-court situations, which is up from 89.1 points per 100 possessions prior to Feb. 10.
“He’s such a dynamic scorer,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He can get to his spots and get buckets. But the thing that kind of gets overlooked sometimes is his ability to play make for his teammates. It’s something we talk about as a team. He and Brandon (Ingram) both are doing a great job of getting other guys involved.”
This partnership is working just fine. CJ is getting a new role and he's not letting the team down, while the rest of the squad helps him win games. Zion Williamson could make his comeback soon, and that only means great news for New Orleans. If CJ keeps this pace, as well as Brandon Ingram, and they add Zion to the mix, this squad could make more noise down the stretch.