Photo / Bruce Ely

ESPN Ranks McCollum Among Playoff MVPs

by Cody Sharrett

The Portland Trail Blazers likely wouldn't be in the Western Conference Semifinals without the efforts of CJ McCollum.

McCollum averaged 19.7 points per game in the Blazers' First Round Matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, including a pair of 27-point performances in Game Three in Portland and Game Five in Los Angeles. The third-year Lehigh product overcame early struggles from deep in the first two games to shoot 36.7% from behing the three-point arc for the series. 

Ranking the Most Valuable Players in the postseason so far, ESPN rates McCollum's performance among the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Paul George. Writes David Thorpe: 

"The Blazers were obviously fortunate to get to play the Clippers those final games without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. But they still had to win the games on the court.

Getting Game 5 on the road was the pivotal win, and McCollum put together his best game of the series to help secure the game. His 27 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists on terrific shooting, adding two blocks and just committing a single turnover, made him the best player on the court. His ability to dribble weave through traffic and finish creative shots has grown enormously, and is a perfect counter to defenders pressing up on him to challenge his perimeter shot."

See the full rankings on (insider access required).