Benchwarming Days Fuel C.J. McCollum’s Rise to NBA’s Most Improved Player Status

January 12th, 2016 by Grant Hughes Leave a reply »

C.J. McCollum's explosive scoring and dramatically improved facilitation skills have made the Portland Trail Blazers guard a legitimate candidate to win Most Improved Player honors in the NBA this season.

Still, he isn't having what many would call a breakout season. He's just enjoying the products of patience, dogged work and, more than anything, hard-won perspective.

"I know what it's like to be a role player," McCollum told Bleacher Report. "I know what it's like to not play, and I don't want to experience that again. So I work that much harder because I know what that felt like."

It's not fear that's motivating McCollum, and he'd certainly never call it that himself. Better to say it's an appreciation for just how quickly (and unfairly) things can be taken away in the NBA. McCollum calls his gig "a privilege," and considering what he's gone through to reach this third-year pinnacle, it's hard to disagree.


The Waiting Game

Having entered the NBA in 2013 as a rare four-year collegian picked in the lottery, McCollum faced a thorough test right away. Tabbed by his pe ...

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