Doug McDermott looks to break out this year for the OKC Thunder and establish himself just like he did when he earned the title of one of the greatest college basketball players of all time.
McDermott was not one of the primary scorers on the team last year, averaging about only five shots a game, and they could have used his 3-point ability. The 3-pointer was a big problem for the Thunder last year and having a player with that skill will be a big benefit for the Thunder.
McDermott has proven that he can be a star player before. Before he was a lottery pick and before he was a big-time college star, McDermott made the decision to not redshirt a year and play in an exhibition game that helped him become a starter at Creighton. McDermott ended up finishing his career scoring 3,150 pointsm which is good for third all-time in college basketball scoring.
Creighton moved to the Big East in McDermott’s senior season and that was his best season statistically, as he averaged 26.7 points a game. Creighton is a mid-major and moving to the Big East meant that it wasn’t power five conference competition, but it was still heightened competitiveness.
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McDermott still shined. He almost joined the 50-40-90 club. Those three numbers are one of the toughest accomplishments to achieve in basketball (50 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent from the 3-point line and 90 percent from the free throw line). He would have done it if not for his 86 percent shooting from the foul line.
In his senior season in 2013-14, he won the AP Player of the Year award, the Naismith Player of the Year award, and the John R. Wooden award. He also became the first player in 30 years to make the All-American team three straight years. Some players that have done that are Wayman Tisdale, Patrick Ewing and Bill Walton. All the players that have accomplished this feat have made the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
McDermott’s career is still young, but so far it looks like he will be the first one in that group that doesn’t make the Hall of Fame. He has never averaged more than 10 points in his career for one whole season. His career low in college was 14.9 points per game as a freshman.
McDermott loved the mid-range jumper in college and it was his greatest tool for scoring. Now he has developed his game to where he can play better defensively by doing things during the offseason like getting stronger. He feels that if he improves his defensive game then he can stay on the floor for longer periods of time and that will give him time to gain experience playing offense in the NBA.
He feels that he is just a basketball player. According to NBA.com, McDermott believes he can do things like move without the basketball to become a player that can be relied on more.
“I’m just more than a spot-up shooter,” McDermott said. “I know I can move without the ball, and I think that just puts more pressure on them, and it can open up more things for everyone out there. The way the league is trending, it’s getting smaller with a lot of small ball and guys that can really spread the floor regardless of their position. I feel like I’m just a basketball player.”
With the NBA changing to fit the small-ball style and with big men now being incorporated more and more into the 3-point game, McDermott will look to improve his career and become that same threat he was in college.