Standing O Sports

Creighton Basketball: Doug McDermott Should Be A Top-10 NBA Draft Pick

courtesy: CBS Sports.com

Creighton senior Doug McDermott has been an unstoppable offensive force this season. The consensus National Player of the Year, McDermott leads the nation with a 26.5 points per game average while shooting 52% from the floor and 45% from deep, and his Blue Jays are an impressive 24-6 on the season.

Last night was Creighton’s senior night, and McDermott went out with a bang. He erupted for a career high 45-points against Providence, and scored as many first half points (22) as the Friars did as a team. His performance put him on the 3,000 point plateau for his career, moving him up to 7th place on the all-time NCAA scoring list.

But despite his success on the collegiate level, McDermott isn’t the the first name that comes to mind when discussing players who could potentially be selected number one overall in the upcoming NBA Draft. Instead, players like Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, and Joel Embiid get most of the recognition. Heck, McDermott isn’t even considered a top 10 prospect by ESPN, NBADraft.net, Sports Illustrated, or DraftExpress.com.

Being a great scorer in college doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll translate to the NBA level. Adam Morrison was a dominant college player and he’s been a total bust in the NBA. Jimmer Fredette put up similar numbers at BYU but hasn’t been able to find consistent minutes in the Association yet.

But Doug McDermott is different. Unlike Fredette and Morrison, he has a defined position, and the things McDermott does on the offensive end of the court should translate to the NBA game pretty easily.

ESPN.com lists McDermott as 6-feet, 8-inches and 225 pounds, the prototypical NBA small forward size. Fredette was a severely undersized 2-guard coming out of BYU, and until he learns how to play the point, he’ll struggle to find minutes. That won’t be the case with McDermott, who could step in right away and contribute at his natural position.

The biggest knock on McDermott right now is “he’s not athletic enough to compete on the NBA level”. And simply, that’s just not true. Granted, McDermott is the last player you’ll see elevate for a windmill dunk in transition, but there are other types of athleticism besides jumping. Looking at McDermott’s game tape, he consistently gets by defenders off the dribble. It almost looks like he’s moving in slow motion, but he always finds a way to get a step on his defender and get off a shot at the rim. While he isn’t a great jumper, McDermott’s initial elevation isn’t as bad as you’d think. There are times where it looks like he’ll just lay it up at the rim, but actually takes off from right under the rim and throws it down. He’s not a great athlete by any means, but he definitely has enough athleticism to hold his own on the NBA level. A lot of players have had successful NBA careers without being uber athletic, and McDermott could very well be the next one.

What McDermott lacks in athleticism, he makes up for it in basketball IQ and feel for the game. A common misconception about basketball is that getting open just happens.

courtesy: mvc-sports.com

courtesy: mvc-sports.com

That’s wrong. Getting open is a skill, and Doug McDermott has mastered that skill. As good as he is with the ball in his hands, he may even be better without the ball. There isn’t a player in America that moves without the ball better than McDermott, and a lot of his buckets come after he makes a great back door or basket cut in front of his defender. Moving without the ball isn’t a skill many players have mastered. But when a player does master it, it makes life 100 times easier for his teammates.

Basketball IQ is a trait that translates from the collegiate level directly to the NBA level. Offensively, McDermott’s IQ is off the charts. An indication of that – his shooting percentages. A big part of a player’s IQ is knowing what he can and can’t do, and what is a good shot and what’s not. For a player who scores as much as McDermott, he rarely takes a bad shot. He’s a member of the elusive “180 Club”, meaning his field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage add up to at least 180. McDermott is shooting 52% from the floor, 45% from deep, and 87% from the free throw line, adding up to a total of 184. For a player who shoots as much as he does, that’s unbelievable.

McDermott is a knock down shooter with range beyond the NBA three point line. His shooting motion is pretty much perfect, and he’s just as good shooting off the dribble as he is off the catch. On the NBA level, he’ll be able to play with the ball in his hands and he’ll

courtesy: collegesportstown.com

courtesy: collegesportstown.com

be able to be a floor spreader for other attacking players. McDermott’s midrange game is money as well. Whether he’s catching at the high post and facing up his defender of pulling up for a jumper at the elbow, he’s usually getting two points when he gets into that area.

The one area of his offensive game that won’t translate to the NBA is his ability to post up. Although he has decent size, McDermott isn’t all that strong. At Creighton, McDermott posts up all the time. He’s got a solid set of post moves, but it’ll be hard for him to get close enough to the basket against stronger NBA defenders.

Doug McDermott won’t be the first overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. There’s a very good chance he won’t even be a lottery pick – even though he should be. But the Creighton senior will be a very solid NBA player down the road. In the right system, don’t be surprised if McDermott scores 17 points a game at some point of his career.

In the ever-lasting draft debate of “potential versus production”, McDermott falls on the ladder of that discussion. His ceiling may not be that much higher than it is right now, but McDermott could compete and produce on the NBA level – right now. Wiggins, Embiid, and other top prospects may pan out to be the next superstar in the NBA. But they also might turn out to be major busts. These players are all potential, and haven’t produced enough to guarantee their games will translate to the NBA.

Doug McDermott isn’t the most athletic player player in America. He doesn’t have the most potential of any player in this draft. But he will be a very productive NBA player.

Whatever team drafts Dougie McBuckets is getting themselves a helluva basketball player.

What do you think of Doug McDermott? Is he going to be a solid NBA player of does he have bust written all over him? Leave it below.


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