New York Knicks: Doug McDermott is proving his value to rotation

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Doug McDermott
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Doug McDermott /

Despite the New York Knicks having one of the worst records in the league on the road so far this season, Doug McDermott has played up to and even above expectations.

The New York Knicks are certainly not the dumpster fire many had written them off to be for the 2017-18 NBA season. While they currently hold a record of 13-13, the Knicks are past the idea of tanking and fighting for a possible seventh or eighth seed when the playoffs come around.

There are a few kinks that need be worked out if they are aiming to turn those playoff hopes into a reality, but they are not impossible to overcome. While they have managed to win only one game on the road this season, they are playing excellent ball at Madison Square Garden. But if they wish to eclipse the 30-win mark this season, this team will have to string together a couple impressive performances against tough opponents on the road.

To many fans’ delight, it would be hard to argue the Oklahoma City Thunder got the better end of the Carmelo Anthony trade thus far. Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott are at this point very key to the rotation. Enes Kanter has won the hearts of fans while Willy Hernangomez and Joakim Noah continue their extended ride on the bench. Meanwhile, Doug “McBuckets” McDermott may not of starter quality, but he has shown improvement in all the areas he was lacking.

Doug McDermott is becoming the well-rounded player the Knicks needed

Last season, Doug McDermott was all the way at the bottom of the list of players on the league regarding the Defensive Box Plus/Minus metric. Now, Jeff Hornacek has developed the struggling forward into a reliable player off the bench.

A deeper dive into the numbers shows where McDermott has shown clear improvement. He is one of the most effective shooters on the team from downtown at 41.1 percent. This is the highest his 3-point percentage has been since his second year in the league, when he finished the year shooting 42.5 percent from beyond the arc.

More importantly, his field goal percentage is currently at a career-high 49.4 percent. In this category, he finds himself shooting sixth-best on the Knicks’ roster.

Sure, Doug McDermott is a long shot from being a lockdown defender, but seeing improvement in this area is earning him ample minutes over two players of the veteran variety, Lance Thomas and Michael Beasley. McDermott is averaging 23.8 minutes per game while Thomas and Beasley are 16.5 and 15.0 per game, respectively.

On a final note, he is averaging 8.5 points per game ,which may not seem like much for 23.8 minutes per game, but it also should speak to how active he is off the ball, and setting hard picks for his teammates.

A bright spot for McDermott at this point in the season is his offensive rating of 119, which is the third-best figure on the entire team. That is a more effective rating than offensive stars Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee.

Next: 2017-18 Week 9 NBA Power Rankings

The New York Knicks certainly made out well acquiring both Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott this offseason, as both are playing major roles in their own way in 2017-18.