Doug McDermott 2021 Season Review

Doug McDermott explains how his comfort in Indiana contributed to his career year and how he benefited from sharing the court with so many playmakers.

McDermott 2021 Player Review

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Doug McDermott 2021 Season Review

Doug McDermott explains how his comfort in Indiana contributed to his career year and how he benefited from sharing the court with so many playmakers.
Jun 11, 2021  |  02:14

Doug McDermott 2020-21 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Doug McDermott's 2020-21 season.
Jun 11, 2021  |  00:59

2021 Exit Interview: Doug McDermott

May 21, 2021 - Doug McDermott details why he had a successful season and why he loves playing for the Pacers.
May 21, 2021  |  01:25

Player Review 2021: Doug McDermott

by Brendan Rourke Contributor

Age: 29
Years Pro: 7
Status: Unrestricted free agent
Key Stats: Appeared in 66 games, starting 29 of them. Averaged career-highs in scoring (13.6 points per game), rebounds (3.3), assists (1.3), and field goal percentage (.532) while attempting the most shots per game of his career (10.1).

Individually, Doug McDermott did everything a player wants to do when playing out the final year of a contract. The former Creighton forward stayed healthy — missing only six games — and set new career highs in nearly every statistical category beneficial to an offensive-minded player.

After playing for three different teams during his first four years in the league, McDermott was an offensive staple for the Blue & Gold for the last three. The speedy small forward renowned for his long-range accuracy added another weapon to his repertoire this year. It paid immense dividends for the squad.

Although his 3-point percentage regressed slightly from last year (.435 to .388), McDermott made up for it in overall field goal percentage. The 6-7 forward finished the season with shooting over 50 percent from the field for the first time in his career. Much of that is due to a massive increase in shots taken in the paint.

PHOTO GALLERY: Doug McDermott's 2020-21 Season in Photos »

This year, McDermott became a specialist at off-ball cuts to the paint around screens. He took 320 shots this year from less than five feet from the rim — doubling his previous career high of 158 attempts he posted last year. His 67.8 percent shooting on these attempts helped him become much more than a spot-up shooter from the outside this year.

Due to his increased playing time, McDermott finished in double figures in all but 13 of his appearances. He tallied a season-high 31 in Indiana's historic 57-point blowout win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 1 — tying his career high. Additionally, he finished with 20 points or more in 10 other games.

Doug McDermott

Photo Credit: Matt Kryger

One weakness McDermott presents in his game is his defense. Through no fault of his own, the small forward is stuck in limbo when it comes to his matchups. His average frame makes him slightly undersized at the power forward position, making rebounding and post defense a tougher task. While he is viable in short shifts during games, it was hard for the Pacers to establish a solid paint presence with McDermott playing extended minutes as their bigs suffered injuries.

McDermott's frame is more suitable for playing on the wing. However, more experienced ball handlers had an easier time maneuvering around him rather than a better on-ball defender such as T.J. Warren. These issues were part of the reason the Blue & Gold fell out of the NBA's top 10 in defensive rating this year. They finished 13th, allowing 112.4 points per 100 possessions.

This offseason, the organization faces the difficult task of evaluating McDermott's worth on both ends of the floor. With more NBA teams favoring offense over defense, keeping the man nicknamed "McBuckets" will be costly. Although Indiana's projected 2021-22 starting lineup is full of high-caliber scorers, he would be a valuable asset to have in the Pacers' second unit. Oftentimes, McDermott and T.J. McConnell ran a high-energy two-man game that worked to perfection against opposing benches.

However, with McDermott likely to have a number of suitors this offseason, Pacers fans could see the sharpshooter leave for another team. Nonetheless, McDermott expressed his immense love for the Pacers during his exit interview.

"They just do things the right way," he said of the organization. "They treat us like professionals. It just feels like a family here. It's a great organization, and I've played in my fair share. The way they do things here is first class."

Wherever the sharpshooter ends up, he will most certainly get a raise. And he deserves every penny of it.

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