Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum helped lead his team to victory against the Denver Nuggets, earning a spot in the Western Conference Finals.
McCollum, 27, scored 37 points against the Nuggets while being especially prolific on floaters. It has been an essential part of his game and, for the fourth year in a row, he ranked Top 10 in total points scored on this play type during the regular season.
It looked particularly pretty when the 6-foot-3 guard drove on 6-foot-11 big Mason Plumlee, as demonstrated during Game 7 in the third quarter below.
After working with Steve Nash during the 2014 offseason, he spoke to Chris Mannix about his extraordinary effectiveness on teardrops (via SI.com)
“I’m extremely comfortable with that shot. It saves your body, it enhances your efficiency. Those big centers, guys like [Andre] Drummond and [Rudy] Gobert, they can’t get it. It’s crucial to have to be a guard in the NBA. All the great guards have a floater. Steph [Curry] has an underhand floater. It’s a shot I’ve really worked hard on for a long time.”
McCollum scored 50 points on teardrops through the first 12 games of the postseason for the Trail Blazers. That led Nikola Jokic (42) for the most in playoff action, while also leading the Western Conference with an average of 4.2 points per game on this shot type.
For comparison, former San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker is considered to have one of the best teardrops of all-time and he led the 2012 postseason with just 2.8 points per game from the floater.
This has been the source of more than one in every five shot attempts McCollum had in halfcourt sets during the playoffs. He is shooting 6-for-8 (75.0 percent) on his driving floating bank shots and 22-for-49 (44.9 percent) when taking his signature driving floating jump shots.
With a well-rounded performance like this, it will be especially interesting to see how the Golden State Warriors try to contain him in the next round alongside fellow star guard Damian Lillard in the backcourt.