New Orleans Pelicans

Pels' McCollum takes shot at Kings after standout performance at G1C

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New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum torched the Kings on Sunday, but the harshest blow he dealt came after the game concluded.

McCollum scored a game-high 30 points in the Pelicans' 133-130 win over the Kings on Sunday at Golden 1 Center, adding salt to the wound by revealing that Sacramento had told him they planned on drafting him with the No. 7 overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft.

"Yeah, Sacramento was supposed to draft me," McCollum said after the game. "They had me come back for a second workout, actually told me they were going to take me at seven and didn't, so I enjoy playing here."

Instead of selecting McCollum, Sacramento used the No. 7 overall selection in 2013 to draft Kansas guard Ben McLemore, while the Lehigh product slid to the No. 10 spot where the Portland Trail Blazers took him. McLemore spent parts of five seasons with the Kings, averaging nine points per game in 312 appearances for Sacramento, but never developed into the impact player that McCollum is.

McCollum, on the other hand, became one of the most reliable scoring threats in the league over the last decade, forming a strong duo with All-NBA guard Damian Lillard as one of the NBA's most potent backcourts in during their nine seasons together in Portland, before the former was traded to New Orleans in February 2022.

The sharpshooting guard was on fire from the opening tip-off in Sunday's win over the Kings, shooting 7-for-10 from the 3-point line, starting with a red-hot streak where the veteran guard drained five of his six shot attempts from beyond the arc in the first half. McCollum finished the game shooting 11-for-16 from the field, adding seven rebounds and four assists in the standout performance.

While the Kings have built a strong foundation with a roster lovingly referred to as the "Beam Team," it's only natural to wonder how Sacramento's fortunes could have changed had they elected to pick McCollum instead of McLemore over 10 years ago.

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