2021-22 Fantasy Basketball: CJ McCollum

by Michael Gorman
Fantasy Basketball CJ McCollum

CJ McCollum is on the move for the first time in his career. The Portland Trail Blazers have traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans, along with Larry Nance Jr. and Tony Snell, in exchange for Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, and several picks. How will this impact his Fantasy Basketball value?

It's sad to see McCollum leave his good friend and running mate Damian Lillard, but the move looks to be beneficial for all involved parties.

With the deal, the Trail Blazers opened up more cap room and general flexibility so they can more properly build around Lillard. The Pelicans now have a big three of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum.

So, what impact will this trade hold for McCollum's Fantasy managers?

2021-22 Fantasy Basketball: CJ McCollum

We all know CJ McCollum to be a consistent Fantasy contributor for points, three-pointers, and low-level assists. While he's generally been better in points leagues than category leagues, there have been a few years when he's been able to jump into the top 35 players in category leagues due to strong efficiency from the field and free-throw line.

This season saw McCollum drop outside the top 50 in terms of 9-cat value. His FG% and FT% are largely to blame, as they sit at 43.6% and 70.6%. These are the worst averages McCollum has sported since the 2014-15 campaign.

Much of the decline in efficiency can be attributed to his own injuries alongside Lillard's. McCollum missed about a month earlier this season with a lung injury, and he also took time off to tend to his wife and newborn child.

Ingram might not be as strong of an offensive threat as Lillard, but once Williamson gets back, I wouldn't be surprised to see career-best efficiency for McCollum.

What will the Pelicans look like going forward?

The offensive combination of Williamson, Ingram, and McCollum is dangerous. The spacing of a starting lineup of that big three plus Devonte' Graham and Jonas Valanciunas is scary, and depending on Williamson's continued development, could put the Pelicans in a position to contend for deep playoff runs in future seasons.

Looking at recent guard play in New Orleans, it's hard to find someone with an offensive profile quite like McCollum's.

Last season, Lonzo Ball looked great, but he mostly served as a distributor and spot-up shooter. During the 2019-20 campaign, Jrue Holiday was heavily featured alongside Ingram and Williamson and put up 19.1 points and 6.7 assists per game.

The departures of Alexander-Walker (13 shots/game) and Hart (9 shots/game) mean that McCollum will have no trouble continuing his norm of around 18 shots per game.

What conclusions can we make?

When Williamson is back, the Pelicans are going to sport a scary offense. McCollum will have the freedom to play on or off-ball, and it should lead to higher efficiency.

Even when Williamson remains injured, McCollum will face an easier offensive task than earlier this season for the Trail Blazers.

Continue to fire up McCollum with confidence and hope he can improve his career-worst efficiency.

Check out more Fantasy Basketball content and know that we’re providing strong advice. My articles on Gary Trent Jr. and Jaren Jackson Jr. are looking particularly clairvoyant these days.

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