As New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum stepped to the foul line in a blowout win over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center, fans chanted, “You need Dame.”
The chant made McCollum laugh after missing one of his free throw attempts. After all, McCollum and Damian Lillard terrorized opposing backcourts by averaging 49 combined points in six full seasons as a starting tandem in Portland. Since the 2015-16 season, when McCollum became a full-time starter, they’re the only duo to score 10,000 points each on the same team, per HoopsHype’s Alberto De Roa.
After the game, McCollum lifted weights and decided to tune into NBA League Pass to watch Lillard’s season debut against the Sacramento Kings as he received his usual postgame treatment routine.
Following a 20-point season debut against the Kings, Lillard (17,530) is now 511 points away from surpassing Clyde Drexler (18,040) as Portland’s all-time career scoring leader.
During the postgame press conference, McCollum was asked by HoopsHype what breaking Drexler’s record would mean to Lillard.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why he’s been so committed to being in Portland to break all the records, show his loyalty to win, and to continue to try and build a lasting legacy,” McCollum replied. “I think he’s done all those things. People will say what they want about him, but he really works on his game, and he really cares about the game of basketball.”
Lillard is Portland’s all-time leader in points per game (24.6), three-pointers (2,144), free throws (3,926), offensive win shares (78.6), and player efficiency rating (22.2).
The six-time All-Star and All-NBA member now ranks ninth on the NBA’s all-time three-pointers list, 15th on the NBA’s career scoring average list, and 87th on the NBA’s all-time points scored list after passing Jason Kidd and counting.
“It shows you why he’s one of the Top 75 greatest players of all-time,” McCollum said. “He’s still a very talented player. I joke with him all the time that if he doesn’t become a billionaire before this is over, you did something wrong.”
You can follow Michael Scotto on Twitter: @MikeAScotto