You don't normally see NBA playoff teams land impact rookies in the draft. But the Chicago Bulls, who had two mid-to-late picks in the 2014 NBA draft's first round, found a way to create a package, make a deal and snag Doug McDermott at No. 11 overall.
McDermott wasn't offering impact minutes to everybody. Had the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic or Minnesota Timberwolves taken him, I doubt his presence would move the needle for any of them in 2014-15.
But this fit in Chicago, though—it seems like a massive win-win for both parties. CBS Sports' Matt Moore tends to agree, comparing McDermott favorably to fellow Creightonite Kyle Korver.
"For all the hand-wringing about McDermott's projection as a player, Korver may be the best fit," Moore wrote. "And if he can follow Korver's guidance to become a similar-level player, he's going to have a productive and long career in the league."
McDermott gets to develop in a setting that allows him to play to his strengths, and in turn, the Bulls get exactly what they need: a scorer and shooter on the wing who can play without the ball.
And given his NBA-ready package, the Bulls get to fill that need without having to dip into free-agent money.
You'd like to think McDermott is fairly prepared to step in right away and execute with significant comfort. We're talking about a mature, highly intelligent prospect with razor-sharp skills and the size to deliver.
Last summer, he was invited to play at Team USA's minicamp in Las Vegas, where he gained valuable experience and reportedly held his own against NBA competition.
This summer, he averaged 18 points through four games in Las Vegas, including one game in which he dropped 31 points on just 12 shots.
McDermott should be ready to roll for the Bulls as a rookie in 2014-15. You can debate over his long-term upside and whether or not his shot-creating ability will translate. But there's no doubting his shot-making touch, having hit at least 44 percent of his three-point attempts in three straight years at Creighton.
And with an understanding of spacing and off-ball movement to match his quick release and lights-out accuracy, there's no reason why McDermott can't provide the Bulls with immediate half-court shot-making.
It could be spotting up off the ball, flashing to the elbow, fading away on the baseline or curling around a screen. McDermott's ability to get himself open and score without the dribble should translate right away to a team that moves the rock.
Between Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, the Bulls have a dynamic playmaker and some terrific passing big men. And McDermott gives them a reliable shooting target to hit that Jimmy Butler (28.3 percent three-point shooting) and Tony Snell (32 percent three-point shooting) didn't provide last season.
"We wanted to address shooting (this offseason)," coach Tom Thibodeau told the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson (subscription required). "And we feel we have."
Of course, the Bulls will take as much scoring from McDermott as they can get. Though Rose was out, Chicago put up some awful offensive numbers last year, ranking toward the bottom in the league in a bunch of major departments:
|Chicago's Offensive Struggles|
|NBA Rank||Offensive Category|
|No. 28||Offensive Efficiency|
|No. 30||Points Per Game|
|No. 27||True Shooting Percentage|
|No. 30||Effective Field-Goal Percentage|
|No. 24||Three-Point Percentage|
|No. 26||Three-Pointers Made Per Game|
McDermott led the country in scoring last year, having averaged 26.7 points a game—the third season in a row he averaged at least 22. He's packing a little more than just a jumper in the arsenal.
"I'm trying to add things to my game every day," McDermott told Johnson. "I think I'm a lot more than a shooter. I feel I'm a complete player. And having a coach like Tom Thibodeau will only help me."
Without traditional pro quickness and burst, that scoring average won't fully translate, but he certainly won't be limited to just stationary shooting. We've seen him finish on the move, whether it's off a runner or floater. He's got the Dirk Nowitzki one-legged fall-away down pat. And he's a nifty finisher around the rim.
Though not a scorer Chicago will look to feature in isolation, McDermott should pose as a threatening third or forth option—a guy who can finish the plays that find him in the offense in the last 14 seconds of a shot clock.
It's an option the Bulls have been missing, and one they've failed to successfully find via trade or free agency.
McDermott's only real concerning flaw or weakness stems from his limited defensive tools. And the Bulls just happen to be one of the few teams in the league capable of hiding them.
They play terrific team defense, having finished first in the league in points given up and second in efficiency.
This is really one of the more mutually beneficially relationships formed from the 2014 draft.
I'm expecting McDermott to play regular minutes this season in Chicago, where he'll have the opportunity to maximize his talent while filling a direct team need.