Where does New Orleans Pelicans’ CJ McCollum rank all-time as a shooter?

CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum is an underrated passer and positionally sound defender. But at the end of the day, the reason he’s been able to carve out such a long and prosperous career has been his scoring.

And a big component of scoring is shooting, something McCollum is also quite adept at as well. But just how good of a shooter historically is the ten-year guard? That’s what we intend to find out here.

Through his regular season career, which spans ten seasons and 665 games, McCollum has hit 1,579 triples. That puts him at 38th all-time in three-pointers made in NBA history.

Of course, McCollum still has plenty of great basketball left in him (he’s coming off a season where he averaged 20.9 PPG), so he will inevitably only continue to climb up the leaderboards. But how much higher will he climb?

Well, basic math tells us that if McCollum has played ten seasons and hit 1,579 threes total, that means that he averages roughly 158 makes per season. So, let’s say he gets another five seasons of that type of production and then another two of half that output (to account for his eventual aging curve).

With that logic, he would hit another 948 threes over the next seven seasons, which would put him at 2,527 makes overall. If no one else on the all-time list moved up (we have to assume that when we do exercises like this), McCollum would finish his career in this scenario at fifth all-time in three-pointers made – trailing behind only Stephen Curry, Ray Allen, James Harden, and Reggie Miller.

Of course, nowadays, three-point makes are like passing yards in football – the new players will always surpass the old ones because we shoot threes in basketball (and pass the ball in football) way more than we ever have.

A more era-independent way of approaching this is by looking at career three-point percentage, since league-wide three-point percentage has hardly changed since 1994-95.

According to Basketball Reference, for his career, McCollum converts his three-point attempts at a rate of 39.52%. This puts him at 65th all-time, right ahead of Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl Anthony-Towns (39.48%) and right behind (ironically) current Pelicans’ Television Analyst Antonio Daniels (39.53%).

So, what does this all mean?

Good question. While three-pointers made and three-point percentage are not an end-all-be-all indicator of marksmanship, they do paint a pretty clear picture of who can and can’t stroke it. And based on McCollum’s career numbers, he likely isn’t in the top tier of all-time shooters.

With that said, the list of players of which you can say are definitely better shooters than McCollum is still incredibly short.

Next. 10 Players the Pelicans gave up on way too soon. dark