Let's take a trip, kids. I'll be able to take four of you guys in my 2008 Kia Spectra. As we exit the apartment complex we head down the criminally underused Conestoga Street. As we swing a quick Larry onto W Lehigh Street, you'll notice the field where many absurd happenings occur during a ten-day
music drinking festival known around the globe as Musikfest.
As we pass the men in overalls prepping the tent for tonight's polka show, we arrive at the Fahy Bridge. What's that aroma of last night's sweat and feeling of regret, you ask? Well that could only be one thing, we've pulled up next to Molly's Irish Grille, a popular late hangout spot at Lehigh University and where one may be lucky enough to snap a picture with basketball star CJ McCollum.
What does this have to do with drafting McCollum? Some may say nothing. Others may say everything. There's just something about an athlete who lives less than a mile from you becoming a lottery pick in Thursday's NBA draft. Needless to say from our trip to Molly's just now, I'm one of CJ's largest supporters and wouldn't mind seeing him in a Sixer uniform this upcoming season.
The game everybody remembers CJ from is the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament in which he and the rest of the Lehigh squad knocked off the number two seeded Duke Blue Devils in one of the greatest upsets in NCAA history. All eastern Pennsylvanians remember exactly where they were that evening (or which bar they were kicked out of for celebrating too much). A huge sense of pride for the 610 and 484.
It was that game when McCollum became a relatively household name to basketball fans around the country. With his 30 points and outshining Mason Plumlee and Austin Rivers (two LB favorites) it was time to figure out what this kid could do in the NBA.
Unfortunately for CJ, he broke his foot early in the 2012-2013 season and only gave us twelve games of which to judge his senior season. However, in those games he was pretty spectacular averaging 24 points on 16.2 shots per game while also shooting a wild 51.6% from beyond the arc. The kid can certainly score from the outside but he also showed an ability to get to the bucket and finish. According to DraftExpress, McCollum shot 56.1% at the rim and averaged 6 free throw attempts per game, something lacking in the Sixers we've become accustomed to.
As most would guess with CJ being enrolled at Lehigh, he's got an above average basketball IQ and from what can be taken from ESPN's Job Interview series, he thoroughly studies his game tape to improve each and every time he goes out. Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose pulled up a highlight of CJ and before the reel even began playing, CJ vocalized what happened during that specfic play. Not a terrible quality to have on your roster.
Seeing as shooting guard (and basically every other position) is a need for the Sixers in this draft, McCollum would be a viable option if he fell to them or if they move up more into where CJ is slotted to be selected. Would he end up being that starting two guard next to Jrue Holiday? Most likely not but he could a valuable asset as a scorer off the bench and a guy who could relieve Jrue when need be to rest the all-star point guard. Chad Ford tweeted out earlier he's heard from some teams that McCollum is their number one rated point guard in the draft.
According to the mock drafts around the internets, the Sixers most likely will not have the opportunity to select the best Mountain Hawk player in Lehgih history unless they swing a deal to move up somewhere within the top eight (DraftExpress and Yahoo! both currently have McCollum going to Detroit with the eighth selection).
And if moving up in the draft is something that could happen, why not use it on a guy wearing a tank top and Spurs snapback I once ate two tables away from at Starter's Riverport? Bethlehem forever!