Is Doug McDermott Finally Breaking Out?
The Chicago Bulls paid a hefty price to move up to draft Doug McDermott in the first round of the 2014 draft, giving up the 16th and 19th overall selections to take McDermott at number 11.
McDermott struggled a lot his rookie season with injuries and being in and out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotations, and he was still struggling some to start this season.
The young Bulls’ swingman shot under 43 percent from the floor in the first three months of the season, and in the month of January, McDermott shot only 38 percent from the floor while averaging just over six points per game. He also had five games in January where he failed to score.
However, since the beginning of February, McDermott has started to turn it on for a number of reasons, but the main one is coach Fred Hoiberg is finally using McDermott’s main NBA skill: his ability to score the ball.
In 10 games this month, McDermott is averaging more than 10 shot attempts per game compared to about 7 shot attempts per game in the months prior to February. This has drastically increased his Usage Rate, which in the month of February is 22.9 percent compared to only 16.6 percent for the entire season.
Not only has this increased his scoring output, but also being able to shoot more has apparently helped McDermott’s rhythm as well. He is shooting nearly 43 percent from beyond the arc in the month of February, and he has scored in double figures in seven of his 10 games this month -- compared to only 17 double-digit scoring games in his first 45 games this season. The Bulls' forward is also shooting close to 54 percent from the floor this month as well.
For a team that has lacked shooting in the past, the Bulls are benefitting from McDermott’s ability to stretch the floor. Chicago is averaging close to 105 points per game this month, and while that has not turned into many wins for this team, there is no denying that McDermott is quickly becoming one of the NBA’s most dangerous shooters from beyond the arc.
|Player (At Least 100 3PA)||3P%|
As you can see, McDermott currently ranks inside the top 10 in the league in three-point percentage among players who have at least 100 attempts this season. He is also shooting better than 47 percent on corner threes this season (and 55.6 percent from the left corner) compared to only 29 percent last season on corner threes.
Everyone knew that McDermott, coming into the league, could shoot, but what about his game inside the three-point line?
This season, McDermott is showing the league that he is not just a three-point specialist as he is attempting more shots this season from midrange as well.
While it’s not a lot, he is attempting about 20 percent of his shots from between 3 and 16 feet this year, and he is shooting better than 50 percent on shots between 12 and 18 feet this season according to NBA Savant.
What’s even more impressive for the Bulls’ sophomore is his shots at the rim this month. McDermott has 101 shot attempts through 10 games in February, and 26 of them have come inside the restricted area. While that isn’t a huge jump from his numbers this season, McDermott is shooting an incredible 69 percent inside the restricted area this month, and after working on his dribble-drive game this offseason, it appears to be finally paying off.
While McDermott’s February numbers are impressive, the Bulls are really banged up right now, and they are going to need McDermott to continue his hot shooting throughout the rest of the season if they want to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
However, while the bust question has been thrown around McDermott’s name in the past, he may have gone from potential bust to rising star in a very short amount of time, and it looks as if increased opportunity is the only thing he needed to show the league what he can do for the Bulls.