When we look back on the Jrue trade it sure would be nice to be able to say that the Sixers not only got 11 time all-star Nerlens "Noel is a holiday" Noel AND ALSO the pick that turned out to be...some other key player to the Sixers dynasty of 4 championships over 9 seasons. I'm sure that i'll get a Hinkie fathead and put it on the wall after ring number one anyway. But before we get too caught up in mock draft after mock draft, there is a particular player that we should talk about. Doug McDermott would not and cannot be a key player in that Sixers dynasty.
Doug McDermott is going to be an awful pro basketball player. And more importantly, Hinkie has no interest in a player like McBuckets. I'm not here to point out that Doug McDermott does not have freakish athleticism or long arms. You probably assume that. You probably already know or have read that he's a deadly shooter from anywhere on the court and has flawless mechanics. There are also plenty of articles that talk about his basketball IQ, because that's how people talk about a player like McDermott. But, you see, you don't really need any of that standard aesthetic analysis. Even though the stats support that he is a very successful shooter (57/45/86) none of this is going to matter much because Doug McDermott can't or doesn't play even a little defense. Hinkie has searched far and wide for players that will play defense and take 3's. In seasons future, he'll have players that play defense and make open 3's. Doug McDermott only does one of those things and Sam Hinkie isn't going to be interested in that. But, just how bad is Doug on D?
Doug McDermott played 145 college basketball games over 4 years and averaged 31.5 minutes per game. In 4569 minutes played, McDermott had 48 combined steals and blocks. That's 34 total steals and 14 total blocks. Or, that is an astounding 0.2 steals and 0.1 blocks per game. Objectively and without bias: in 4569 minutes of McDermott on the court, he barely ever touched the ball unless it was passed to him or perhaps caromed off the rim in his direction (he had a not terrible 7.5 rebs/game career, but that's hardly mind blowing for a PF playing big minutes. That's right. He's a 6'8" PF.). We'll later address what he does with the ball after it is passed to him, but first: what does that steals/blocks number mean for his future? Let's check some of the player comparisons that have been made to McDermott. Typically, comps are used as a shorthand for most likely outcome of a player and role in a sort of look-alike/play-alike feel. At their best, there's a clustering algorithm behind the numbers and a metric or score to tell you about how close these players are to each other in all of the measurables.
At their worse, comps compare a player like Doug McDermott to:
Dirk Nowitzki (draftexpress points out a Dirk-like one-legged fade-away),
Tracy Murray (the nbadraft.net comp)
Wally Szczerbiak (Doug addressed this comp on the Dan Patrick show: http://www.danpatrick.com/2014/02/25/doug-mcdermott-on-nba-comparisons/). Straight from Doug McDermott...he says that the Wally comparison is "a decent one" while "you can't make a Larry Bird comparison." Or, Doug, maybe you just did, in a way.
Let's go back to the stats though...we know that Dirk is a willing, but typically unable defender. For those that remember Tracy Murray you'll remember a shooter, and nothing else. We also know very well that Kyle Korver looks looks like Ashton Kutcher and plays defense like a chair. And, Wally Szerbiak rounds out the comps as a guy that could shoot from a mid-major that had a long and even 1-time all-star career in the NBA, but was never known for defense. So, on the surface, we're getting close, right? Nope, we're way off.
Final College Year (Nowitzki's rookie year) Steals+Blocks:
McDermott: 15 in 1181 minutes
Nowitzki: 56 in 958 pro minutes at age 20
Korver: 73 in 1082 minutes
Szczerbiak: 71 in 1081 minutes
Murray: 83 in 1083 minutes
All of these guys were or are excellent shooters and they range from future hall-of-famer (Dirk) to trivia question answer (Korver's 3 streak) to an All-Star at the right place and time (Wally on Garnett's team), but even though they they share one or 2 traits with Doug McDermott, they aren't good comparisons and they shouldn't make you think that there's a chance that Doug deserves the 10 pick with the deal clincher that sent Jrue to NO.
Finally, there's also some clear bias in the analysis to address though so let's close this out by addressing McDermott's basketball IQ situation. Because McDermott isn't a run/jump athlete, it's easy (and lazy) to say that he has a high basketball IQ. We can't be sure what that means, but if we guessed that McDermott is an outstanding distributor we would have to keep looking. McDermott had 194 career assists and 2075 career shots. When he gets the ball, he is going to shoot it rather than create a shot for a teammate 9/10 times. This is the type of mindset that regularly marks players with the low-basketball IQ, but for some reason that doesn't stick to Doug McDermott. His IQ may be high because he knows that he's a phenomenal shooter and scorer on the college court, but Doug is out there to get his points from tip to buzzer. So, his superior intellect generates one answer to the question of what to do with the ball when he gets it. He shoots it, and does not much else.
Hinkie may actually sort of like that type of player on offense but the rest of Doug's game is not going to get him drafted by the Sixers. Personally, I see the Cavs figuring out a way to get Doug into a uniform.