Point Guard, 6’3″, 195 lbs.
Senior, LeHigh University
21 years old
2012-13 Stats: 23.9 PPG (49.5% FG, 84.9% FT, 51.6% 3FG), 5.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.7 TOPG
STRENGTHS: McCollum is the draft’s top shooter, finishing with a blistering 51.6% percent from three and a 62.8% true shooting percentage, which is second only to Ben McLemore in the guard class. McCollum gets compared often to Golden State’s Stephen Curry with their similar size, stature, shooting skills and similar rise-to-stardom from a small school. Offensively speaking, it makes sense—McCollum, like Curry, is a lights out scorer who can create from anywhere and single-handedly carried his team into the NCAA Tournament. He’s a solid defender (he averaged 2.6 steals his junior year) and a competent rebounder for his size, and looks the part of a competent, confident team leader.
WEAKNESSES: McCollum isn’t an NBA point guard – at least not yet. While the comparison with Curry is apt when it comes to shooting, it’s easy to overlook the fact that McCollum averaged a paltry 2.9 assists per game for LeHigh. In Curry’s last season at Davidson, he averaged 6.0. McCollum’s assist rate of 24.9% is very mediocre for a point guard (for comparison, Michigan’s Trey Burke had a 37.9% assist rate last season, while Michael Carter-Williams’ had a 40.1%).
He’s also too short to play full time shooting guard, and even if a team tried to move him to the two spot he’s a player who needs the ball in his hands in order to be effective. His usage rate was 37.2%. On two point shots, both at the rim and as a jumper (which accounted for 66% of his shots) he was assisted on just 27% of them. An off-the-ball scorer he is not.
HOW HE’D FIT WITH THE KINGS:
Sacramento improved their offense over the course of last season, but McCollum would become the team’s best shooter as soon as he put on their draft cap. If selected, the Kings would most likely be hoping to transition McCollum to full-time PG. Unlike with Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams, it remains to be seen if McCollum really can become a true starting dual-threat NBA point guard.
BRYANT – No thanks. McCollum’s shooting would be a very welcome addition, but he’d just be another mouth to feed, basketball wise. He’ll need to be a PG in the NBA, but he didn’t play like much of one in college. Fans are hoping McCollum could become Stephan Curry 2.0, but as I expressed in the weakness section McCollum never got close to Curry’s assist rate in college. Sacramento doesn’t need another shoot first point guard, no matter how good at shooting he is. I’d much rather the Kings gamble on the real playmaking point guards like Trey Burke or Michael Carter-Williams.
SCOTT LEVIN – Yes, but it would probably only make sense if the plan is to move Marcus Thornton for another piece. I’m a fan of both players, but they seem to fill the same role — a perimeter shooter who can provide instant offense off the Kings bench. McCollum reminds me of Jamal Crawford, a player who entered the league as a combo guard but made his mark as a primetime scorer. I’m not sold on McCollum being a full-time point guard, but that doesn’t negate his value completely. There is a lot of potential there, and he can still handle the rock. As an added bonus, he has big game experience, carrying Lehigh in the NCAA Tournament, and he’s a highly intelligent player who exudes professionalism. Depending on how the first six picks shake out, he may be worth it for the Kings at No. 7.
WHERE HE GOES: No. 7 to Sacramento seems his ceiling, but there are plenty of later teams (No. 8 in Detroit, No. 9 in Minnesota, No. 10 in Portland) could also use a combo guard. If McCollum ended up at any of those three locations though, he’d be likely to come off the bench or be shifted to shooting guard, which fits him better skill wise and far worse physically. While it’s unlikely that all three teams would pass on a scoring talent like McCollum, Philadelphia (No. 11), Dallas (No. 13), Utah (No. 14) or Milwaukee (No. 15) could all use a lights-out scoring guard.