Monday, July 14, 2014
Doug McDermott: I'm more than a shooter
By Nick Friedell
LAS VEGAS -- Tom Thibodeau's scouting report on Doug McDermott's first week of practice in advance of the Vegas Summer League was succinct and accurate.
"He can shoot," Thibodeau said.
If his first two games in Vegas are any indication, McDermott should adjust his long-range game to the NBA level just fine. After connecting on 2 of 5 3-pointers in a 10-point summer league debut Saturday, McDermott stepped it up against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. He scored 31 points on 12 shots thanks to five 3-pointers and a 12-for-12 performance from the free throw line.
Doug McDermott's deft shooting touch was on display in his second summer league game against the Nuggets.
Anyone who followed McDermott during his stellar four-year career at Creighton knows that. That's why the Bulls swung a deal to grab the sharpshooter and college player of the year on draft night with the 11th pick. He fills the most glaring need the Bulls have -- a lack of outside shooting. He has the ability to create space on the floor for the guards to penetrate.
"I feel like that's my biggest strength right now," McDermott said. "I feel like I'm trying to add things to my game every day. I feel like I'm a lot more than a shooter. I think I'm a complete player, and having a coach like Tom Thibodeau, he's only going to help me."
What has impressed coaches most about McDermott since landing in Chicago, aside from his shooting, is the fact that he is willing to put in the work to get better. It's a characteristic the Bulls look for in draft picks and one that McDermott knows will put him on Thibodeau's good side from the start.
"I feel like I'm going to have to gain his respect, definitely," McDermott said of Thibodeau. "I'm going to have to work my tail off to get to that point, and I definitely will. I'll be in Chicago all summer up 'til training camp, working on my game, getting back in shape, and we'll see what happens."
What McDermott knows for sure is that he is going to get plenty of open looks playing alongside Derrick Rose. While Thibodeau loves a solid work ethic, the demanding coach loves production even more. That's why McDermott is so happy about the chance to play with Rose on a regular basis.
"It's great," McDermott said of Rose. "He finds people so fast. He makes those quick decisions when he gets around the basket, so it's great to have a guy like that."
McDermott said Rose, who has missed most of the past two seasons with knee injuries, appears to be ready to roll.
"He looked great," McDermott said. "You could tell he's trying to get into better shape, but he looked really healthy to me. He was doing stuff he normally does, so that was great to see."
What has been great for the Bulls' personnel to see is McDermott's confidence growing each day. He admitted after Sunday's win over the Nuggets that the game slowed down for him. That was clear as he connected on 5-of-9 3-pointers and was 7-of-12 from the floor overall.
"It was impressive to see how he could score from the inside, he could put it on the floor, he could space the floor," Bulls assistant and summer league coach Adrian Griffin said. "He has a very high basketball IQ. And that's what these games are about, just to see where these guys are and see how much improvement they need to be ready in the fall."
McDermott wants to be known as more than just a shooter, and he will have to learn Thibodeau's defensive schemes to earn any meaningful minutes. But if he keeps knocking down shots the way he has throughout his career, the Bulls will be ecstatic.