Apr 16, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has some words with Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (3) during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Moda Center. The Blazers won the game 110-104. Mandatory Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. McCollum could be key for the Portland Trail Blazers this season

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In 2012, the Portland Trail Blazers used the sixth-overall pick of the NBA Draft to take Weber State point guard Damian Lillard. Lillard was excellent out of the gate and is developing into a star. In 2013, the Blazers hoped to strike gold twice, selecting another small school player, this time Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum. McCollum, however, was injured and appeared in just 38 games last season.

Jabari Davis thinks McCollum could be in for a huge season if he is healthy.

McCollum missed over half of his rookie season due to injury, but if his Summer League performance was any indication as to whether he was fully recovered and ready to take on the league, let’s just say the Blazers should expect big things out of their 22-year-old reserve shooting guard. His continued progression could be just what the Blazers need, as additional productivity off the bench was precisely what was missing from last year’s exciting run. McCollum has the type of game and ability that should give a player like starter Wes Matthews plenty of motivation to maintain his positive play.

With the Blazers needing salary cap to re-sign star big man LaMarcus Aldridge following the 2014-2015 season and eventually needing space to extend Lillard, it will be tough for them to add many pieces, meaning the key to future could be whether or not players like McCollum will take the next step.

McCollum averaged 5.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per game while shooting 41.6% from the field, 37.5% from beyond the arc and 67.6% from the free throw last season.

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Tags: C.J. McCollum Portland Trail Blazers

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