C.J. McCollum was selected by the Blazers with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 draft, but Portland wasn’t your typical lottery team. Instead, the Blazers were a team on the rise, with many key pieces already in place that came together in time to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
Most rookies selected at that spot in the draft are given the chance to develop during live game scenarios, with a heavy dose of minutes not being a problem since teams picking that highly normally don’t have expectations of being all that good in the somewhat immediate future.
McCollum, however, due to being added to an already pretty good team, didn’t end up seeing too much action. He appeared in just 38 regular season games, and averaged just 12.5 minutes in those contests. But he seems to have learned a lot from his first year in the league nonetheless, and took the time to give out some advice aimed at the current crop of incoming NBA rookies.
My advice is to check your bank account statements and actually read over your monthly cash flow. Every time you post a picture on Instagram or Twitter, you should probably also take the time to check your accounts online. …
Instead of thinking of reasons why your coach should be playing you, honestly assess reasons as to why he isn’t. The next step is to go work on those things and improve the specific areas you come up with, so there is a change in your play. For me, it was simple. I made a list of what I needed to improve on.
Make defense a priority and not an afterthought. Most rookies struggle with the transition of defense. Do a better job of gauging angles. There are more pick-and-rolls and in the league, teams will utilize a play or player over and over again until it is stopped. …
But my number one piece of advice to the incoming rookies is to humble yourself now because regardless of your situation, and the amount of opportunity available, you are a piece to the puzzle, not the piece.
All very sound points.
The main thing that comes across when reading McCollum’s unfiltered thoughts on his first season is that he seems to be keeping everything in its proper perspective. Any rookies entering the league this season and beyond would be wise to do the same, and heed McCollum’s advice.