Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Doug McDermott (Creighton) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number eleven overall pick to the Denver Nuggets in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls 2014 NBA Draft Grades: Doug McDermott

The Chicago Bulls concluded the 2013-14 campaign as the top defensive team in the league, allowing 91.7 points per game. However, on the flip side of the coin, they were ranked last in scoring this season, averaging just 93.7 points per contest while shooting 42 percent from the field.

And as was the case going into the 2013 draft, the Bulls needed to add a player to the roster that could provide the team with some scoring punch.

So, with the 16th and 19th picks in the 2014 draft, the Bulls traded up to the No. 11 spot, which was held by the Denver Nuggets, and landed sharp-shooter Doug McDermott from Creighton.

Although McDermott compiled one of the most impressive resumes in collegiate history, does he has what it takes to be a solid addition for the Bulls? To answer this question, let’s a take a quick look at the tale of the tape.

The Good

One positive that McDermott brings to the table is his ability to score. In fact, McDermott accumulated 3,150 points during his four years at Creighton, which makes him the fifth all-time scorer in Division I history.

It should also be noted that McDermott led the nation in scoring last season with 26.7 points per game to go along with seven rebounds. He was the consensus national player of the year and he is one of three players in NCAA history to record more than 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

In addition to that, following his freshman year in which he averaged 14.9 points per game, McDermott scored at least 22 points per contest in the next three seasons—a remarkable accomplishment when taking into consideration that he was the focal point of Creighton’s offense.

Season School Conf G MP FG% 2P% 3P% FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2010-11 Creighton MVC 39 29.1 .525 .571 .405 .746 7.2 1.2 0.3 0.1 2.2 2.1 14.9
2012-13 Creighton MVC 36 31.6 .548 .573 .490 .875 7.7 1.6 0.2 0.1 2.6 1.6 23.2
2011-12 Creighton MVC 35 31.9 .601 .633 .486 .796 8.2 1.1 0.2 0.1 2.3 1.7 22.9
2013-14 Creighton Big East 35 33.7 .526 .567 .449 .864 7.0 1.6 0.2 0.1 1.8 1.9 26.7
Career Creighton 145 31.5 .550 .587 .458 .831 7.5 1.3 0.2 0.1 2.2 1.8 21.7
Provided by Sports-Reference.com/CBB: View Original Table
Generated 6/27/2014.
Another great attribute that McDermott will bring to the Bulls is efficiency. During his senior year, McDermott connected on 53 percent of his attempts overall, including 45 percent from beyond the arc.
He also shot an impressive 51 percent from distance in transition and recorded a ridiculous 1.95 points per possession in catch-and-shoot situations when left unguarded, which was only 29 percent of the time, per Luke Winn of SI.com. In other words, if you leave the guy open, he is going to make you pay.
Being that the Bulls converted just 33 percent of their attempts from the land of 3 last season, McDermott appears to be the perfect player that can help them raise that percentage to a respectable level.
But if you are under the assumption that McDermott is just a solid shooter, you would be incorrect.
Not only is McDermott capable of creating space to get off quality shots from the perimeter, he also has the ability to score around the rim as well. In fact, 25 percent of his scoring came from the low post, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times.
With an uncanny ability to score from any spot on the floor, McDermott appears to be worth the two first-round picks the Bulls used to acquire him.
The Bad
While McDermott is more than capable of delivering the goods from a scoring perspective, there are a few concerns about his game. For starters, he is not very athletic and his defense has room for improvement.
That sounds like a harsh assessment on the surface, but let me throw out an interesting stat to help prove my point.
According to Tyler Lashbrook of SB Nation, McDermott played more than 4,500 minutes mostly at the power forward position, but his steal rate (0.4 percent) and block rate (0.5 percent) were dismal, to say the least. Although the way he played defense may have been by design, those numbers will have to improve tremendously if the Bulls opt to play him at the 4 spot.
Another potential area of concern for the Bulls is that McDermott was not as effective against opponents that featured NBA-sized frontcourts. The video clip below shows how he fared against teams such as Baylor, St. John’s and San Diego State.

What is also worth mentioning is that McDermott does not have the necessary quickness to defend the 3 spot, which could make him a liability on defense at both of the forward positions. And if McDermott hopes to see significant playing time during his rookie campaign, he will have to show that he is capable of being at least an average defender.
Overall Analysis
McDermott is a player who can score in a number of different ways. Whether it is in transition, the half court set, or even in the post against smaller players, he finds different ways to the put the ball in the basket.
And with regards to his reputation for being a poor defender, McDermott feels that his four years at Creighton has prepared him for the various defensive schemes he will see at the next level. But for those of us who may have lingering questions about whether McDermott is NBA-ready from a defensive standpoint, Tom Thibodeau offered this assessment of the Bulls’ draft pick, per Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago:
If you’re just viewing him strictly as a shooter, you’re not casting him in the proper light. Because he’s a lot more than that. We think he’s a complete player. We think he’s capable of playing very good defense.
Now, if Thibodeau is willing to offer such praise about a player’s ability to defend, especially before he has played one minute in the NBA, then McDermott may be a more well-rounded player than most people give him credit for. That being said, the Bulls were more aggressive than usual in this draft, and as a result, they landed a player who has the pedigree to come in and produce right away.
While McDermott’s shortcomings on defense are a glaring concern for the time being, Thibodeau has become famous for turning players into above-average defenders, and I have the feeling this instance will be no exception.
Draft Grade: B
James Tillman is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com and a sports contributor for Football Nation and Sports Kings/Pass The Pill. James is also a former Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Contributor Network. 

Tags: 2014 Nba Draft Chicago Bulls Doug McDermott

  • crygdyllyn

    If he can play average defense, then I would give this pick an A-, at worst.
    BTW, he will play SF, I think.
    McDermott is not just a shooter; he is a scorer. With McDermott on the floor, how will teams sag off of him to double team Rose? They cannot leave Noah alone down low, or he will get a pass and score.
    McDermott is not enough, though. We need Mirotic at PF. Then we have a more balanced attack.
    Now the Bulls need an upgrade at SG. Lance Stephenson would give us more offense, and still be a great defender.
    A lineup of Noah, Mirotic, Mcdermott, Lance, and Rose would be hard to stop.
    A bench of Bairstow, Smith, Taj, Dunleavy, Snell, Butler, Heinrich, and FA point guard, would be formidable. That would give opponents no rest.

    • http://hoopshabit.com/author/jdtillman3/ James Tillman

      Thanks for taking time to read the article and the response is appreciated. I agree with your assessment about McDermott being more than a shooter. But I also know that if his defense does not improve, it is very unlikely that he will see significant playing time. It will be interesting to see if Thibodeau deviates from his scheme of not giving rookies a lot of playing time.

      • Road Dog

        He wont deviate without defense. McDermott will have a chance to prove he deserves to stay on the floor alongside NBA talent when he plays and reacts to NBA talent. I’m as excited as any fan, but I also know that the best college players dont always translate to great NBA players history shows me. Unfortunately, most that dont live up to that billing are the ones that cant defend the position they play.

        • http://hoopshabit.com/author/jdtillman3/ James Tillman

          Appreciate the input friend. Hopefully, McDermott will fill the void created by Korver’s departure two years ago. He was not a great defender when he arrived, but Thibodeau turned him into a good team defender and the Bulls never missed a beat when he was on the floor. McDermott’s game is more balanced than Korver’s because of his ability to score from the perimeter and around the rim as well. As a previous commenter mentioned, if he puts forth the effort defensively, the Bulls may have the shooter they have been looking for the past couple of seasons.

    • Road Dog

      Mcbuckets will be a much needed scorer off our bench. M&M wont be starters in front of Taj or any NBA experienced player. They have to learn the NBA game first !!! We dont need Lance. Jimmy buckets will be more than a handful if we can keep Derrick on the floor ??? Our future is bright, but we must keep our DEFENSIVE DNA with certain players.

      • http://hoopshabit.com/author/jdtillman3/ James Tillman

        Thanks for the response. As you stated, there will be learning curve involved with regards to rookies acclimating themselves to the NBA. If he continues to improve on an already-impressive skill set, he should see some action off the bench next season.

  • Ksp48

    So he made some and he missed some.

  • Brandy Tillman

    It’s good to see that the Bulls acquired a scorer. Why do you think the coach is so confident about his defense, given his stats?

    • Road Dog

      Tibs system will allow for players on the floor to help each other’s weaknesses. With his scoring ability, they will rotate when possible and instruct him to force his opponent to help side defense !!!!

  • Valerie Flemings

    High praise coming from Thibodeau, he is an excellent coach so I guess he sees potential in draft pick McDermott. I think he has picked a winner! I think you are on the money by giving him the letter B as a grade. However, time will tell. You are doing a wonderful Job James, your writing skills are great! Keep up the good work!

    • http://hoopshabit.com/author/jdtillman3/ James Tillman

      Thanks for the input Valerie. I’m hoping he will improve on the defensive end because he will not see a lot of playing time if that is not the case.

  • Michael Cunningham

    I’m curious to see if Doug McBuckets can shoot 53% in summer league play. Last season Tony Snell was supposed to be a sharp shooter from distance too, but once he got to summer league play his shooting range sucked, and this continued throughout the regular season. Either he hits his shots or the draft pick was a waste. Summer league play will show us this.

    • http://hoopshabit.com/author/jdtillman3/ James Tillman

      Appreciate the response Michael. By now, we both know that McDermott and Snell have played fairly well in the summer league. Hopefully that will translate to success during the upcoming season. Marquis Teague played well last season and he is now with another team.