Saturday, May 17, 2014

2014 Draft Scouting - 1st Round - Doug McDermott

While it was already a given that the Pistons would be in search of more perimeter shooting this offseason, that need has certainly been ramped up with the hiring of Stan Van Gundy as the Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations.  The need for players who can space the floor will have to be filled both through free agency and the draft.  As far as shooters in the draft go, it's hard to argue against Doug McDermott being the cream of the crop.  A rare NCAA senior projected to go in the lottery, McDermott connected on 274 of his 598 three-point attempts in his four years at Creighton, good for 45.8%.  While he might be considered a bit of a reach at #8, the Pistons will think long and hard about taking McDermott to instantly upgrade their perimeter shooting.

McDermott's shooting will almost certainly translate to the NBA, but it will be interesting to see if he can also bring his efficient scoring inside the arc with him.  McDermott shot 56.7% on two-point field goals in his senior season, and was just under 59% for his college career inside the arc.  McDermott lacks elite quickness and ball-handling for the SF position, although he was a very skilled post-up player in college.  If he can tighten up his ball-handling and pick his spots, McDermott may very well maintain some of the efficiency he experienced at Creighton.  Measuring in at only 6'6 without shoes and with merely an average wingspan at the NBA Combine has essentially wiped away any chance that McDermott will be used as a small-ball PF in the NBA, so perfecting his perimeter skills is a must.  Let's take a look at some of the specifics on McDermott, and how he might potentially fit with the Pistons...

Click "Read More" for the rest of the scouting report...
DOUG MCDERMOTT - SF - 6'8, 220 - CREIGHTON, SR.

The main thing to like about McDermott, aside from his consistent production at the collegiate level, is that he is always balanced, with great form on his jump shot.  In both catch-and-shoot situations, and off the dribble, McDermott shows excellent balance, body control and follow through.  That's how you shoot over 45% from three on a high volume of attempts.  Another thing that allows McDermott to be so efficient is his ability to move well without the ball.  He knows where the open spots are going to be on the floor depending on how a defense reacts, and he gets there.  He's fundamentally sound coming off of screens both with and without the ball.  That plays into McDermott's superb shot selection.  For a guy who took 18 shots per game in his senior season, it's hard to find game film that shows McDermott consistently taking ill-advised shots.  That will be a positive for him early in his career as he looks to pick his spots in whichever offense he ends up in.  

McDermott's post game is also very fundamentally sound.  He has an array of reliable moves, including a smooth step-back jumper and a face up game driving left from the right side of the lane.  While he isn't physically imposing, McDermott ought to be able to score in the post against most NBA SFs.  McDermott also takes very good care of the ball, producing a 7.9% Turnover Rate despite posting the nation's third-highest Usage Rate.  This was an area of improvement for McDermott in his senior year, as it was his first in his college career with an Assist Rate greater than his Turnover Rate.  Aside from hitting the offensive glass, there are minimal to no holes in McDermott's offensive game.

The other side of the floor is what will keep McDermott from being a major impact player in the NBA.  McDermott lacks the footspeed to stay in front of SFs and the size to guard PFs.  His measurements at the combine have only contributed to this notion.  While he ranked near the top among SFs in the agility drill at this year's combine, he merely would have been in the middle of the pack in any other year.  The choice of top prospects not to attend should also be considered.  He also is less experienced guarding perimeter players after guarding PFs for the last four years at Creighton.  The other limitation to McDermott's game is his dribbling ability.  McDermott was able to work off of the dribble at the college level because he was often guarded by slower, bigger PFs.  The consensus among NBA scouts is that McDermott will struggle to handle the ball in the NBA against quicker defenders.  Any team that drafts him should look to run him off screens and utilize his ability to move without the ball, as Creighton often did during his college career.

McDermott's expected inability to defend NBA SFs could be a deterrent to a team like the Pistons who struggled at that end of the floor last season.  However, McDermott's ability to shoot the lights out, coupled with some amount of offensive versatility will be hard to pass up with the 8th pick, assuming this year's consensus top group of players are all off of the board.  If the Pistons do choose to go with McDermott at #8, it will be hard to argue with.  The value of McDermott's shooting alone is great, but it needs to be considered what a Pistons offense would look like with him running between the wing and corner while Monroe and Drummond operate on the block.  Teams will be less inclined to send help off of McDermott, potentially increasing the value of a post touch.  Another positive aspect of drafting McDermott is the low chance of him being a complete bust.  It's hard to imagine a scenario where McDermott's shooting isn't good enough to keep him on the floor.  This could be a factor, with the Pistons' organizational desire to both build for the future and start winning immediately.  While he may lack the upside of some of the other lottery prospects in this year's draft, McDermott's shooting and instant impact potential should make him a welcomed sight for Pistons fans if he's their 2014 first round pick.

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