Doug McDermott 2019 Season Review

Doug McDermott reflects on donning the uniform of the team he cheered for growing up, looks back on his first season in Indiana, and shares his goals for this summer.

Doug McDermott 2019 Season Review

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Doug McDermott 2019 Season Review

Doug McDermott reflects on donning the uniform of the team he cheered for growing up, looks back on his first season in Indiana, and shares his goals for this summer.
May 6, 2019  |  04:41

Doug McDermott 2018-19 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Pacers forward Doug McDermott's 2018-19 season.
May 6, 2019  |  01:00

Player Review 2019: Doug McDermott

by Mark Montieth Writer

Age: 27
Years Pro: 5
Status: Has two years remaining on his contract.
Key Stats: Played in all 77 games for an average of 17.4 minutes. Averaged 7.3 points while shooting 49 percent from the field, 41 percent from 3-point range, and 83.5 percent from the foul line.

The vibe throughout the season was that he was a disappointment. Maybe, even, a bust.

The numbers tell a different tale.

Doug McDermott averaged 7.3 points for the Pacers this season, which is in line with his career average. He had the highest scoring average on a per-minute basis of his five NBA seasons because he averaged just 5.5 shots per game, the fewest of his career. His field goal percentage — .491 — was the best of his career and his 3-point percentage — .408 — was second-best on the team not counting Domantas Sabonis, who only attempted 17 threes.

McDermott also finished 17th in the NBA in 3-point accuracy, five spots behind Bojan Bogdanovic and one spot ahead of Darren Collison, who led the league the previous season. He also finished ahead of such long-distance luminaries as JJ Redick, Klay Thompson, and Kyle Korver.

PHOTO GALLERY: Doug McDermott's 2018-19 Season in Photos »

If all that was a disappointment to anyone, it might reflect an unreasonable expectation. McDermott's reputation as a shooter was such coming out of college that Chicago made him a lottery pick, drafting him 11th overall in 2014. That and his pristine form brings anticipation to every shot and a feeling of mild letdown to every miss.

Forty percent accuracy is the standard dividing line between the good and very good 3-point threats, and McDermott conforms to it. "If I'm not shooting 40, I think I'm having a bad year shooting," he said late in the season. He finished on the right side of it for the third time in his five-season career, especially on the road, where he was the NBA's best 3-point shooter at 49.1 percent. He hit just 31.3 percent at home, which probably fed the perception he wasn't shooting well.

He had no explanation for the variation, and it hasn't always been that way. While his career 3-point percentage is better in road games than at home by a small margin (42-39 percent), his overall field goal and free throw percentages have been better at home. It just so happened he shot drastically better in all categories away from home this season. Not that he didn't try to close gap. He often walked across the street following practice at St. Vincent Center via the underground tunnel to put up shots in Bankers Life Fieldhouse whenever the court was set up.

It didn't seem to help much, though. McDermott hit three or more 3-pointers eight times during the season, but only twice in Bankers Life Fieldhouse — against Brooklyn in the season's second home game and against New York in December. His better moments came on the road, such as when he led the Pacers with a season-high 21 points in 23 minutes off the bench in the win at Utah in November, and then came back the next night to score another 21 while hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers in a victory at Phoenix.

Doug McDermott, Gordon Hayward

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

The hope when McDermott was signed to a three-year contract last summer was that McDermott could replicate his performance in the 26 games he played with Dallas at the end of the 2017-18 season. He hit 49.4 percent (34-of-74) in coach Rick Carlisle's system, which found ways to free him for open looks. He hit a percentage of those shots with the Pacers, too, especially from the corners, but didn't shoot as well coming off screens.

McDermott, who played for his father at Creighton, has the classic coach's-kid game. The fundamentally-sound shooting stroke, the backdoor cuts for layups, the ingrained habit of jogging to the bench when he's subbed out, the bland and carefully-worded responses to all media all speaks to a well-schooled player.

That's why he didn't utter any complaints about his slow fade into oblivion in the playoffs. He shot poorly in the first two games in Boston, hitting 1-of-7 shots in Game 1 and 1-of-3 shots in Game 2 while missing all seven combined 3-point attempts in those games. He played just five minutes in Game 3 without getting up a shot and not at all in Game 4. (That was a sharp contrast to his previous playoff appearances with Chicago and Oklahoma City, in which he hit 8-of-15 3-pointers.)

Still, he stood in the postgame locker room after the sweep was complete and said all the right things.

McDermott's nickname is McBuckets rather than McD for a reason. He's not a strong defender, although he gives honest effort and generally does a good job of staying in front of his man. But he wasn't signed last summer to play defense. He was signed to shoot, and still can play a vital role going forward. The Pacers ranked 29th in 3-pointers made and attempted last season, so there should continue to be a crying need for a 40 percent marksman.

"Sometimes shots aren't going to fall and that's what people judge me on, but my movement out there and my spacing has done a lot for our second unit," he said. "That's what I hang my hat on. As long as I'm affecting winning, that's all that really matters."

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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.


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