Grab your remote. Turn on the NBA playoffs. Envision Creighton's two-time All-American competing for a world championship.
Is Doug McDermott spotting up in the corner, waiting for LeBron James to feed him for 3?
Is he running pick-and-roll on the reserve unit, diving to the bucket, shielding a bigger defender and getting a layup?
Or is he in the corner of the TV screen, sitting inconspicuously on the bench?
McDermott must wait another two years for a chance at playoff basketball. But his mental preparation for the NBA has already begun. Greg McDermott spent the past few weeks on the phone with general managers, absorbing their evaluations of his son.
“The teams that liked Doug really liked him,” Greg said. “And the teams that had question marks, their question marks were similar. Who does he guard? What position does he play?”
McDermott, 6-foot-8, 225 pounds, is tough to project at the next level because his profile is so unusual.
Not many guys can score so effectively around the hoop without elite athleticism, said Anthony Tolliver, an ex-Creighton forward who plays for the Atlanta Hawks. The ones who do certainly can't shoot 50 percent from 3-point range.
Yet by NBA standards, McDermott has three or four clear weaknesses: Lateral quickness. Vertical leaping. Ball handling. Most important, defense. Is he quick enough to guard a small forward? Is he strong enough to guard a power forward?
McDermott's strengths must be extraordinary enough to overcome his liabilities. They are, says ESPN's Fran Fraschilla.
“The way I look at Doug McDermott is if you have the offensive skills he does, particularly his ability to shoot the ball, there's going to be a spot on an NBA roster for you,” said Fraschilla, an NBA draft analyst.
“He does have certain limitations, like all players do. But he has a gift for putting the ball in the basket. He will make a team. He will be in the league, I believe, for 10 years.”
Fraschilla is confident of that. But identifying an NBA prototype for McDermott is a puzzle.
If he were 6-foot-10, McDermott would be a lottery pick. He'd draw comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki. At 6-8, though, he's a tweener. Maybe he's the next Wally Szczerbiak, maybe Antawn Jamison, maybe a spot-up shooter.
“I have tried to wrack my brain about whether he's a Steve Novak/Kyle Korver type,” Fraschilla said. “Then again, he's much more effective inside than those guys were in college.”
McDermott's success in the NBA will start with the 3-point shot, his dad said. He'll need to be one of the league's best bombers. That's not hard to imagine considering his remarkable shooting stats the past two years.
Question is, can he make use of his highly regarded skills around the basket? Or will long, physical NBA forwards make him a one-dimensional scorer?
It's anyone's guess.
At times, McDermott has thrived against athletic frontcourts — even ardent critics must marvel at his 41 points against Wichita State. But against North Carolina and Duke in the NCAA tournament, McDermott shot a combined 12 for 35.
“Even though he didn't shoot a great percentage against Duke, I think he got shots that he was comfortable with,” Greg McDermott said. “Both teams — Duke and Cincinnati — had a hard time guarding him without fouling. When you haven't seen him, he's a hard guard.”
Fraschilla envisions a successful role for McDermott in the NBA. His work ethic and movement without the ball will lead to layups and putbacks. His marksmanship will produce 3s.
“There are a lot of undersized 4-men in the NBA, especially on second units,” Fraschilla said. “I'm watching (Friday) night, Carl Landry for the Warriors...
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“You've got a guy like Doug with a waterbug backup point guard driving and kicking out to him for open 3s, a guy like that can get you 8 to 10 points in a five-minute span playing off the bench as an undersized 4.”
McDermott isn't going to guard Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Fraschilla said. But he can guard undersized power forwards.
Get beyond the top 40 players in the league and everybody's interchangeable, Fraschilla said. It's about putting together a good team, not the 12 best individual players. Some guys simply need to bring something to the table others can't.
McDermott's skill set could be perfect for a team like Miami or Oklahoma City. Put him in the corner and let him stretch the defense, so LeBron can drive. Let him crash the boards when James misses, making a defense pay for double-teaming him.
“Not everybody has to bat clean-up,” Fraschilla said. “Doug could be a really good right fielder batting seventh. There's nothing wrong with that.”
Over the next six months, McDermott will spend hundreds of hours in the gym. He'll take those GM evaluations and try to improve his quickness and strength, his ball-handling and shooting on the move.
Can he make it in the pros? Too soon to tell. But remember McDermott three years ago when he arrived at Creighton. And look at him now.
By the 2015 NBA playoffs, we may barely recognize him.
Contact the writer:
402-649-1461, email@example.com; twitter.com/dirkchatelain
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>> Video: Watch Thursday's Doug McDermott press conference:
>> Video: Greg McDermott reacts to Doug's decision: