Former college sensation Doug McDermott is starting to flash some of the skills that made him a late lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
It’s safe to say not everything has gone as planned for Doug McDermott in the NBA. Now on his 4th team in as many seasons, the Ames, Iowa native is hopeful that he can finally plant his roots and begin to blossom as a player.
So far, so good.
The Dallas Mavericks acquired Doug McDermott from the New York Knicks at this year’s trade deadline in hopes of shoring up their barren depth at the small forward position. Since arriving in the Big D, McDermott has set the league on fire.
Rick Carlisle’s motion, high-screening offense has unlocked the shooter’s potential. He has never looked more comfortable on a basketball court since his illustrious time spent at Creighton University in Omaha. And that is no mere coincidence.
The Mavericks’ offense is the closest thing he’s come to the “Let It Fly” high-paced system his father and former coach ran in college. In case you don’t remember, Doug McDermott was a bad bad man.
At Creighton, McDermott became the school’s all-time leading scorer, a consensus 3x 1st Team All-American, the Wooden National Player of the Year, the Naismith National Player of the Year, and the 5th all-time leading scorer in college basketball history.
It was in large part due to his individual success that Creighton was offered a spot in the new-look Big East conference, one of the most important developments in the university’s sports history. Sorry Peyton Manning, but Dougie is king in Omaha. It won’t be long before his statue is sitting out front of the Century Link Center reminding Bluejays fans of his historic career.
Luckily for him, Doug McDermott is finally once again playing in a system that allows him to maximize his talents to the fullest. With the Mavericks, McDermott has constantly been in motion, putting pressure on defenders to keep up with him as he runs around screens and executes perfectly-timed backdoor cuts to the rim.
Notice McDermott doesn’t stop moving this entire clip eventually leading to the easy score:
Not only does hustle and timing like that frequently lead to points, it also tires out opposing players forced to chase him all over the court.
In these two plays, McDermott demonstrates his cutting without the basketball. His timing moving without the ball is superb especially for someone his age (26).
It’s plays like these that make McDermott a coach’s dream for Rick Carlisle. Ultimately, elite shooting is the best skill Dougie McBuckets has added to this team. He is converting on an ultra-efficient 50 FG%, 55 3PT%, and 88 FT% in the time he has spent in Dallas.
He has even shown off the ability to knockdown a little hometown favorite (I think he might owe a certain someone a royalty check for this shot):
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Since the All-Star break, no player in the league has shot better from deep than McDermott (and it’s not even close). His shooting provides much-needed spacing that opens driving lanes for Dennis Smith Jr. and Harrison Barnes. It is no coincidence both of those players’ scoring averages have taken a jump since the team traded for McDermott.
Doug McDermott’s impact on the team can be likened to former Maverick Peja Stojaković. Peja, also a midseason addition, helped to unlock the offense of the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. His elite shooting and off-ball movement made the lives of every other player on the team far easier.
Doug McDermott will be a free agent this summer and the Mavericks will have an important decision to make. They could elect to renounce his rights in the name of cap space, but I’d be surprised to see them go this route.
McDermott will likely never be a star in this league and he may be nothing more than a solid bench player going forward. However, he fits Carlisle’s offense like a glove and he appears to compliment Barnes and Smith Jr.’s games very nicely. I expect them to retain McDermott on a reasonable, long-term deal, especially since the forward likely will not command a lot of money on the open market.
The Dallas Mavericks would be wise to lock-up Doug McDermott this summer for the foreseeable future. And if they do, McDermott will be glad to have finally found a place in the NBA that he can call home.