"McBuckets" impressing early
With countless favorable impressions made in the first three days the NBA's Summer League in Las Vegas, Doug McDermott's strong start can get lost in the fold.
Through two games in Vegas, McDermott is shooting a cool 50% from three, 45% from the field, and has dropped 41 points. The folks inside the COX Pavilion were treated to a show Sunday night, as 31 of those points came during an exquisite 7/12 (5/9 3 PT) shooting performance.
McDermott has arguably shown as much promise as anyone in the 2014 Draft class, not only showcasing the ability to consistently knock down the NBA three, but also playing improved defense and recognizing where he needs to be on the court.
“Doug has picked up everything real well," said teammate Tony Snell after the Bulls' first Summer League contest. "He knew the plays and was in the right spots defensively."
The fact McDermott has been able to bother shooters on the perimeter is maybe most encouraging of all, considering he played the majority of his college minutes on defense away from that area.
"In college I guarded all 4’s, and now I’m asked to guard 3’s and 2’s and guys on the wing," he said. "I’m still learning that too and that takes a lot of mental preparation. It’s all a learning process to me and I think I’ll adjust to it well."
McDermott has exuded confidence since he faced the media on draft night, and even back during Creighton's Big East Tournament run. It translates on the court.
He's a deadeye from deep; defenders closing out have little to no effect on the way he shoots the ball, and the success he has. Another big thing that stands out about his play is the way he moves without the ball and reads the game. He's constantly setting screens, directing his teammates, and finding open space for catch-and-shoot attempts. What's more - he's flashed his post proficiency in the Summer League, using his spin and up-and-under moves effectively to get to the rack. There's really nothing he hasn't done thus far.
As always, it's healthy to take these Summer League returns with a grain of salt. That said, expectations are decently high for McDermott's rookie season, and nothing has been lost in translation from his Creighton days - he's actually refined his game some. He has the look of a legit prospect, and while Tom Thibodeau doesn't normally play rookies big minutes, he may want to give his first round pick a look as the season wears on. The Bulls don't have a wealth of options off the bench at the wing.
"He’s really gonna be a threat," said Snell, "He’s got a ceiling. A high ceiling."