Breaking down the recently acquired Knick’s strengths and weaknesses.
Doug McDermott’s game is no mystery. He likes to shoot the ball. He will compete with Michael Beasley this season for title of Walking Bucket.
On the offensive side of the floor, there is plenty for Knicks fans who are tired of the team ramming a triangle into a round hole to be excited about:
However, the problems with McDermott lie on the defensive end of the floor:
On both offense and defense, McDermott finds himself most often in spot-up situations. Offensively, teams try to force him to dribble the basketball, since he is far less effective shooting off the dribble than in catch-and-shoot opportunities. If he does have to take a dribble, he is best in spot-up, one-dribble-and-shoot plays than in dribble-drive or dribbling off screens. Defensively, he struggles keeping up with opponents around screens. He is often late and prone to error when trying to compensate for being a step behind.
Watch the video below to see highlights of McDermott’s strengths and weaknesses:
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It will be interesting to see how Jeff Hornacek juggles his rotation this season. With the addition of Enes Kanter, fans sitting behind the Knicks bench will have trouble seeing over a line of tall bodies. While the coaching staff will need to be creative in finding playing time for all of them, that shouldn’t dissuade them from utilizing McDermott at the four in certain small ball situations. Against a sluggish power forward, the Knicks could hide McDermott on defense while creating a mismatch on offense. There have already been hints of playing both Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Courtney Lee on the floor together, so why not spread the floor with snipers, play Porzingis at the five, and shoot the lights out of the Garden?
Oklahoma City had moderate success playing McDermott alongside Steven Adams in the playoffs last spring, surrounding those two with Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, and Alex Abrines. In the three games in which they tried to keep pace with the Rockets shooting, that lineup with McDermott at power forward was a +8.0 in over 15 minutes played.
If rumors of Hardaway’s improved defense are true, a small lineup with McDermott next to Porzingis should have enough defensive balance to unlock the lineup’s unbelievable shooting potential.
The value McDermott brings to the Knicks is easy to pinpoint, but hard to quantify. He adds another young shooter to a team trying to adjust their offense to catch up with the rest of the NBA. The Knicks have not ranked higher than 21st in three-point attempts since Mike Woodson left town, one year removed from the magical 2012–13 playoff squad. While ‘Dougie McBuckets’ doesn’t add a lot of value anywhere else on the court, his specialized shooting is an asset. His career 39.4 percent mark from downtown was only surpassed by one Knick, Courtney Lee, last season.
If McDermott can show some improvement on defense to keep himself from being a complete liability while guarding the other team, he can whip his spare minutes into a positive contribution for the team next season.
— Jeffrey Bellone, columnist