At some point, I won’t be the only person concerned about Doug McDermott’s production.
While it looks like I’m nit-picking on a rookie 16 games into the season, I can’t shake the negative vibes I’m getting from thinking about him — especially after looking at Friday’s box score of the Bulls’ win against the Celtics.
McDermott’s line: 2 minutes, 0-0 FG-FGA, 0-0 3PM-3PA, 1-2 FT-FTA, 1 point, 0 rebounds
That’s no good for any of the parties involved. Well, unless you’re the Celtics. Consider Friday’s ugly line as a glimpse to McDermott’s first 16 games.
The averages: 12 minutes per game, 1.4 field goals made, 3.2 field goal attempts, 1.8 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 3.4 points, 23.1% 3-point percentage; 43.1 field goal percentage, 16.6 percent usage rate
Note that McDermott has yet to earn a start this season. Not to say he has been deserving of one, but use this as perspective as we move forward with some of the players he was compared with before the season.
Leading up to the draft, NBADraft.net compared McDermott to Wally Szczerbiak and Tracy Murray.
We’ll start with the Szczerbiak comp:
—15 starts, 33.6 MPG, 5.1 FGM, 11.0 FGA, 0.1 3PM, 1.0 3PA, 12.5 3P%, .804 FT%, 4.0 REB, 2.8 AST, 1.1 STL, 12.7 PPG, 17.8% usage rate
Moving on to Tracy Murray:
—6 starts, 10.8 MPG, 2.6 GF, 6.2 FGA, 41.4 FG%, 0.5 3PM 1.8 3PA, 81.8 FT%, 6.2 pts, 1.8 reb, 0.4 ast, 27.7 USG
Szczerbiak is the high-end comp (what you might want out of him as a rookie) garnering nearly three-times the minutes McDermott is currently receiving. On the other hand, Murray represents the low-end comp, playing similar minutes, but getting a significantly higher usage rate.
In either case, McDermott has a lot to do to reach either of these comps at his current pace.
Because of the Bulls’ recent history, fans came up with some comps of their own. Namely, current Bull Mike Dunleavy Jr. and former sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
—16 starts, 32.9 MPG, 4.8 FG, 11.8 FGA, 40.2 FG% 1.3 3PM, 4.4 3PA, 30.0% 3%, 13.0 PPG, 2.4 APG, 6.8 RPG, 21.0 usage rate
—0 starts, 3.9 mpg, 0.3 FG, 1.6 FGA, 16.0 FG%, 0.3 3PM, 1.2 3PA, 21.1 3PT%, 0.9 PPG, 0.6 RPG, 0.1 APG, 23.3 usage rate
The more I look at it, the more I think of Mike Dunleavy Jr. as an underrated player — the type who wasn’t great at one thing, but was serviceable in multiple aspects of the game — and the more I think that the Korver/McDermott comparisons go beyond being stars at Creighton University.
Like Korver, McDermott gets a lot of his scoring from jump shots and being the recipient of some quality passing. As a rookie, 93.88 percent of Korver’s shot attempts came on jump shots — 63.3 percent of those were 3-point attempts.
Korver attempted 1,089 shots in two years with the Bulls (playoffs included, per Korver’s basketball-reference.com page) and 96.3 percent of those (1,049 if you’re tracking at home) were jump shots.
McDermott’s shots are mostly coming off jumpers (60.78 percent), but not nearly at as high of a rate as Korver. And only 83.87 percent of McDermott’s attempts are coming from the 3-point line.
There is a bit more balance in his game, but unlike in college, McDermott has been unable go to many other go-to scoring moves because of the defensive match-up he sees nightly.
Maybe McDermott could use a little bit of help from his teammates. He is only being assisted on 66.7 percent of his jump shot attempts, while as a rookie, Korver was assisted on 98.1 percent of his jump shot attempts. Being on the floor with a distributing point guard (or a healthy Derrick Rose) could unlock some of the mystery of McDermott’s struggles.
After looking at the aforementioned comparisons, I found myself trying to see how McDermott stacks up against other players at similar positions in that same draft slot.
2011 (1st round, 11th overall pick): Klay Thompson
—1 start, 17.2 MPG, 2.6 FGM, 6.1 FGA, 42.9 3P%, 1.3 3PM 2.9 3PA, 44.7%, 6.7 PPG, 1.4 APG, 1.5 RPG, 20.1 USG
2009: (1st, 11th): Terrance Williams
—3 starts, 27.4 minutes per game, 4.1 FGM, 11.5 FGA, 35.9 FG%, 0.8 3PM, 2.7 30.2 3P%, 10.4 PPG, 1.9 AST, 5.5 RPG, 24.2 USG
2006 (1st, 11th): J.J. Redick
—0 starts, 9.1 minutes per game, 1.3 FGM, 2.7 FGA, 0.4 3PM, 1.3 3PA, 35.0 3P%, 84.6 FT%, 3.6 PPG, 0.4 APG, 0.3 RPG, 15.8 USG
2003 (1st, 11th): Mikael Pietrus
—0 starts, 7.0 MPG, 0.6 FG, 1.9 FGA, 32.3 FG%, 0.4 3PM, 1.1 3PA, 41.2 3P%, 2.3 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.5 APG, 17.3 USG
Mixed bag at 11th overall. Klay Thompson is the star of the bunch. Pietrus was a decent enough role player for Orlando’s Finals appearance against the Lakers. Redick has turned himself into a sharpshooting contributor after struggling early. Williams hasn’t played since the 2012-13 season.
Digging into the numbers, it’s safe to expect a mixed bag from McDermott moving forward.
In some cases, you can see where McDermott could follow the path of late bloomers such as Redick and Korver, who eventually carved out their niche with perimeter sharpshooting. Or put together a long career as a role player like Dunleavy Jr. or Szczerbiak.
But based on this small sample size it would be hard for McDermott to reach those numbers without ample amount of floor time to hone his craft.
The concern here is when you trade two first-round picks to acquire a player who is supposed to contribute immediately in your championship window and he doesn’t — that could lead to problems down the road.