Doug McDermott ended his college career as the NCAA's fifth all-time leading scorer, putting up huge numbers with ridiculous efficiency throughout his four years at Creighton. How much of his game will translate?
McDermott is an elite, NBA-ready shooter who will be able to make an impact in that role from day one. He has great form, getting his feet set and squaring up with a quick and consistent release. He can shoot from everywhere on the floor, including deep NBA range already.
McDermott can get his shot off in a lot of ways: catch-and-shoot, off the dribble, coming off screens... He can do it all. He even developed a mid-range game as a junior and senior, including a Dirk Nowiztki-esque one-legged fadeaway. His percentages from two, three and the charity stripe are all ridiculous, and he maintained those percentages at a high volume and as the primary focus of every defensive game plan.
No matter what happens with the rest of his game, this is one area that will translate. Nik Stauskas is regarded as the premier sharpshooting wing in this class, and as the reports of workouts around the draft combine can attest, McDermott went shot for shot with Stauskas.
Seriously, read this piece by Sports Illustrated's Luke Winn on the shooters in this draft. McDermott scored almost two points per possession on unguarded catch-and-shoot jumpers. If he's open, that sucker is going in.
As good a shooter as McDermott is, he was primarily a post-up power forward in college. He has phenomenal touch around the basket and can use either hand to finish. He has an excellent feel for using the glass and can get the ball in and out of his hands as quickly as I've ever seen.
He has excellent footwork and an array of hook shots, up-and-unders, drop-steps, flip shots and scoops. He also likes the turnaround jumper, and uses the Nowitzki-shot in the post as well as from mid range. When the double comes, McDermott can also make the right pass, something he got better and better at throughout his career as he got plenty of practice at it.
The thing that made McDermott so good, though, was his motor. He never stopped moving, never stopped fighting for post position. He drew plenty of off-ball fouls simply due to his movement and effort. He runs the floor well and looks to get early post position.
McDermott is not going to be able to post-up in the NBA like he did in college. The players are bigger, stronger and more athletic. However, it is things like his ability to score in the post given the right match-ups that separate him from the other shooters in this draft.
McDermott is an incredibly skilled player with a high basketball IQ. He has a tremendous work ethic as well, and has both improved his skills and added things to his game every year.
He has a great feel for playing off the ball - working for position in the post, spotting up on the perimeter or running off of and reading screens to get open. He's effective on curls and cuts to the basket because of his touch and how quick he gets the ball into and out of his hands.
Once he gets into a zone there wasn't much college defenses could do to stop him - as his slew of 30 and even 40-point games (career-high of 45 on senior night) can attest to. He developed into a clutch player as a senior who wanted the ball in his hands in late-game situations, hitting a couple game-winners and go-ahead baskets late.
He has improved his handle and is much more comfortable dribbling, but he still has a long way to go. He doesn't have much in the way of advanced moves and can struggle to break down good defenders off the bounce.
In his own words, McDermott just has a natural feel for the game, and he's not even sure how he makes some of the shots he does. McDermott isn't just a shooter; he's a scorer. Though he won't be able to play exactly the way he did in college, he's skilled and smart enough to find a way to put the ball through the hoop; his nickname is Dougie McBuckets for a reason.
McDermott was a solid rebounder in college, but he didn't consistently clean the glass. There were games where he pulled down double-digits boards and there were games where he only ended up with three or four. He has good hands, good instincts and a good motor. He reads the ball well coming off the rim and has excellent touch on put-back attempts.
However, his size is an issue and he can get beat by bigger, stronger or more athletic opponents.
Overall, McDermott isn't going to be pulling down 10 boards per game. However, he works hard enough and his instincts are good enough to allow him to make an impact on the glass.
Defense is McDermott's biggest weakness, and it's due largely to his tweener size. He struggles to hold his ground against bigger players in the post and stay in front of quicker opponents on the perimeter. His block and steal numbers are almost nonexistent, although that is partly by design.
Creighton could not afford to have McDermott stuck on the bench with foul trouble, so he was coached to avoid reaching in or going for the block. Even so, his arm length is merely average and he doesn't have great instincts or timing for steals or blocks.
His physical limitations mean he won't ever be a true difference-maker on this end, but his lack of athleticism is overblown as his combine numbers have shown. In the interviews above, McDermott spoke about being able to be more aggressive defensively without having to worry about fouls so much. He appears to have slimmed down a bit for the combine, weighing in at 218 pounds, and that will help him transition to defending wings - something McDermott knows he has to do and is ready for as he said in the interviews above. McDermott could also play the four down the road in the right match-ups as he gets stronger under an NBA training regimen.
Individually he isn't great, but McDermott's IQ isn't restricted to offense. He's also a very smart defender who knows how to rotate and be in the right spot. His knowledge of the game means he should be able to fit into a team defense and play his role within that.
McDermott is a deadly offensive player who can score in a variety of ways from everywhere on the floor. He's a really smart player that will be able to pick up and fit into any system and can get his without demanding the ball be in his hands at all times. He proved himself against NBA competition at the Team USA camp, holding his own and was lauded as the best shooter in a gym full of pros.
Multiple sources said Creighton's Doug McDermott has blended in with the young NBA guys at Team USA Minicamp. "Has shot it extremely well."— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 23, 2013
He is a very high character player and an incredibly hard-worker. He wowed teams and analysts in interviews and is no stranger to being in front of a microphone (something that I've seen first hand in the three years that I've covered him).
If McDermott is put into the right situation, his strengths can be exploited and his weaknesses can be minimized - making him a true weapon.
McDermott would be tremendous in Hornacek's system as both a three and a small-ball four. His shooting would be deadly paired with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe's penetration, and his post game and off-ball work could be a second option with right match-ups. I see him initially fitting into Marcus Morris' role as a shooter and scorer off the bench and progressing from there.
It is true the Suns need more help on defense than they do on offense, but if Ryan McDonough has a chance to draft him he should do so. McDermott's ability to get buckets in an incredibly efficient way would both fit in well to Hornacek's run and shoot system and would allow Dragic and Bledsoe to do what they do best even more.
McDermott is mocked in the top 10 by most places, and I doubt he falls all the way to 14. But if he does, or the Suns have a chance to move up a few shots, he would look great in purple and orange.