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NBA Trade Rumors: CJ McCollum can take the Denver Nuggets to the next level

Denver Nuggets fans don
Denver Nuggets fans don't have fond memories of McCollum from last season.
Rupam Nag
ANALYST
Modified 13 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST
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The Denver Nuggets are one of the best and most balanced teams in the NBA. They play an attractive brand of basketball that is very enjoyable to watch from a neutral's point of view. They have been in the top four of the league for assists per game in each of the last four seasons. This statistic is a testament to the excellent chemistry they've built over the years, with coach Mike Malone at the helm of it all.

There haven't been many huge NBA trade rumors linking the Denver Nuggets to players, but it might be time to consider the viability of one. The Denver Nuggets are a fantastic team that can beat anyone on a given day. Led by a superstar in Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets have a lot of exciting young pieces that they hope will realize their full potential in the future.

However, irrespective of how good they are, they don't have it in them to beat teams like the LA Lakers or the LA Clippers in a seven-game series.

If they want to improve their chances against such sides and level-up significantly, they need to make a big splash this offseason.


Also Read: Best free-agent starting five this NBA off-season


NBA Trade Rumors: The Denver Nuggets lack a scoring machine like CJ McCollum

McCollum showed the Denver Nuggets exactly how dangerous he can be in the WC semis last season.
McCollum showed the Denver Nuggets exactly how dangerous he can be in the WC semis last season.

The Denver Nuggets are a team that likes to share their scoring among several players. They have players like Will Barton, Jamal Murray, and of course, Nikola Jokic, who could take on the responsibility of scoring a majority of the points.

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However, the truth is that not a single player on their entire roster has ever averaged over 20 points per game in their whole career, barring Jokic, who averaged 20.1 last season.

It is most definitely not a requirement to have a 20+ points per game scorer to win the Championship. But in today's offense-heavy NBA, a world-class scorer gives you a significant advantage. Jamal Murray has often exploded to put up huge numbers, but the fact that he still averages just around 19 points per game is an indication of how streaky he is as a scorer.

Michael Porter Jr. has the potential to be as good as anyone else in the NBA offensively, but he is still just 22 and isn't reliable enough.

One player that could immediately solve a lot of the Denver Nuggets' problems is a man who is probably hated in Denver - Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum.

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CJ McCollum's career statistics

McCollum has always racked up impressive numbers in Lillard
McCollum has always racked up impressive numbers in Lillard's absence

Career points per game - 18.5

Career assists per game - 3.1

Career rebounds per game - 3.3

Career field goal % - 45.4%

Career 3pt % - 39.7%

CJ McCollum is one of the league's proven bucket-getters. He can create his shots, can score in every possible way, and is also an underrated playmaker.

He isn't an elite defender by any means, but he can certainly hold his own on the defensive end. And the Denver Nuggets know all too well about that.

In their Western Conference semi-final against the Portland Trail Blazers last season, the Denver Nuggets couldn't contain CJ McCollum. He kept knocking down one clutch shot after another in a series that went to seven games. When CJ McCollum decides to take matters into his own hands, he is very tough to stop.

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McCollum has been a guaranteed 20+ points per game scorer for the last five years. Even after playing in the shadow of a superstar offensive player like Damian Lillard, McCollum manages to record excellent statistics every season.

On a team where he is the first scoring option, CJ McCollum would easily average over 25 points per game, which is precisely why he will be difficult to trade for.


NBA Trade Rumors: How can the Denver Nuggets trade for CJ McCollum?

Barton has played for the Blazers in the past.
Barton has played for the Blazers in the past.

The Denver Nuggets will have to offer the Portland Trail Blazers two of their starters to convince them to part with McCollum - their shooting guard Gary Harris, and their small forward in Will Barton.

Barton has represented the Trail Blazers before but is a much better player now than he was during his time with Portland. Gary Harris, on the other hand, has endured a two-season-long shooting slump. However, he is still only 26 and could probably manage to find his mojo back.

Both Gary Harris and Will Barton are great defenders who would help Damian Lillard and co strengthen in an area in which they are one of the worst in the league. This is why the Trail Blazers could probably accept this trade for McCollum.

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Moreover, the combined offensive input of Barton and Harris will make McCollum's departure a lot easier to digest. A pick from the Denver Nuggets is all it could take to convince the Blazers to shake hands on this potential trade.


Also Read: 5 stats from the 2019-20 NBA season that will blow your mind

Published 13 Sep 2020, 04:00 IST
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