This is the 24th in a daily look at the top prospects in the NBA Draft: Their strengths, their weaknesses, and whether or not they're a fit for the Celtics. Today's prospect: Doug McDermott
MIKE McDERMOTT, CREIGHTON
Small forward/power forward
6-foot-8, 225 pounds
HIS STORY: Doug McDermott put together one of the greatest collegiate careers in the history of the game. He graduated from Creighton as the fifth-leading scorer in NCAA history with 3,150 points, was a three-time first team All-American, and in his senior year was the consensus National Player of the Year (senior season: 26.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists per game). He could have left Creighton after his sophomore year, but his draft position was unclear. Although a good scorer then, GMs felt he lacked the athleticism to be a guaranteed lottery pick. He returned for not just one more year but two, playing for his father, Greg, at Creighton. In those years, his offensive game developed into the most all-around complete skill set we’ve seen in college since Tim Duncan at Wake Forest in the late '90s.
HIS STRENGTHS: He has no weaknesses offensively and everything he does is efficient. Last year, he took 38.6 percent of his team’s shots (second in the nation, per kenpom.com) with a True Shooting percentage of 64.4 percent (27th in the nation). I don’t like making player comparisons, but McDermott reminds of Dirk Nowitzki on the offensive end. He's a few inches shorter, but is lethal from deep (44.9 percent). He’s not going to blow by you, but is crafty with the ball on the wing, utilizes shot fakes well, uses his body to create space, and can finish around the rim or with off-balance shots all over the court. He is very good with his back to the basket. Again, he won't jump over guys or blow past them, but has a complete understanding of angles to the rim, has terrific footwork and a great touch with either hand. In addition to being a great scorer, he’s smart and sound in his decision-making. Despite having the ball in his hands constantly, he only had a Turnover Rate of 9.8 percent (58th in the country). Lastly, he’s a worker with a high motor. Despite being a first team All-American as a sophomore, he continued to work on his game and improve significantly every offseason.
HIS WEAKNESSES: His lack of athleticism and size leave him without a clear position. He should be a small forward in the NBA, but will struggle to guard that position at the next level. At the power forward, he’s undersized. Offensively, he can score on guys at either position but defensively he’s at a disadvantage. At the NBA combine, though, he opened some eyes with a vertical leap of 36 1/2” and a top-15 time in the lane agility drill. McDermott needs to work more on his moves off the dribble, and from all reports that’s been his focus this offseason.
IS HE A FIT FOR THE CELTICS? Everyone (GMs and fans) has their opinion of what McDermott will be at the next level. For the Celtics, I think he could give them 17 to 20 points and 7 to 10 rebounds every night, which is just what they need. You’ll have to sacrifice some on the defensive end, but I think he’s the type of skilled player that Brad Stevens likes and will utilize to the fullest. Because of this uncertainty, I think McDermott will definitely be available at the sixth pick but most likely not at the 17th. That said, I think they should seriously consider McDermott at No. 6. I think he’s a sure thing in terms of what he can give you on the offensive ended and on the glass. His potential may not be as high as other players in the lottery but I think he’s a known quantity, which other players aren’t. I believe he’s capable of having a great NBA career, and can be an impact player both next year and going forward on a team chasing a championship.
COMING NEXT: Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State