Days after the Portland Trail Blazers lost Jusuf Nurkic for at least eight weeks to a wrist injury, CJ McCollum will now be out for an extended period of time. The Blazers have started the season 8-6 but without both McCollum and Nurkic more and more pressure is placed on Damian Lillard.
Mike Richman: The biggest challenge is going to be that CJ was their best offensive player. He's not a more accomplished player than Damian Lillard, he's probably not even really a better player than Damian Lillard. You could kind of make that case for the first time ever this year, but it wouldn't be super convincing to me. What he was was darn good though, it doesn't really matter if he's not one of the top 10 players in the league, he was one of the very good players.
The Blazers are going to miss his ability to go get a bucket. They have, in theory, a bunch of people who are offense-first and can score. However, there's a big difference between being a pretty good offensive player like Rodney Hood and being a CJ McCollum-type who's taken 11 threes a game, soaking up 30% of the possessions, shooting, and distributing. They just don't really have a guy who can step into a really high usage role and be efficient. They will miss that creativity, that secondary creator, every team is always looking for more guys who can create their own shots. CJ is elite at that and the Blazers simply just cannot replace that. They do not have that player on the roster. They can be okay without him, but it's a big, big, big, big, big loss.