Doug McDermott arrived in Dallas at the trade deadline, as the Mavericks opted to move Devin Harris for a second round pick and an opportunity to try out the 26 year old sharpshooter at the end of a contract. The move was positive for two important reasons: it showed that the front office knew they needed to leverage the veteran talent on the roster to acquire some draft inventory, and the Mavs grabbed a guy who fits perfectly in Carlisle’s system. And the latter was evident the moment McDermott hit the floor. It took a few games for the wing to get comfortable and contribute solid shooting; but even in those first three games he found ways to affect play and pepper the stat sheet.
It’s pretty simple — success for McDermott on the floor is measured from the three point line. And good god was it sweet. He finished the season 11th in the league in three point percentage (42.6 percent, his time in New York and Dallas combined). Focusing on his time in a Mavs jersey alone, McDermott shot a scorching 49.4 percent from long range. Yes, it was only 26 games, and most likely impossible to sustain for an entire season. But if he did, it would put him a full three percent ahead of anyone else in the league.
Outside of his shooting, Doug McBuckets fit in Dallas because he plays with high IQ, is versatile enough to play the three or a small ball four, and does a lot of little things well on both ends. He’s more mobile than he was initially given credit. And it seemed even in his short time in Dallas that some of his inconsistencies during stops with other teams (played for Chicago, Oklahoma City, and New York in his short career) had some to do with coaches not knowing how to properly leverage his talents. But his game really is tailor-made for Carlisle.
He left some to be desired defensively and on the boards. But because of his sense of where to be on the floor and work within the flow of the system, he does enough to not just be a three point specialist.
Dougie is a restricted free agent, and puts Dallas in an interesting spot this summer. It’s no secret the Mavs think they’re going to swing for the fences trying to speed up a rebuild that just got started. But in many ways, it’s signings like McDermott that are just as a vital in a rebuild as it is nabbing top tier free agents.
For too long the Mavs have had to use filler players and veterans on short term deals to completer their roster, as they struck out on max players. But the importance of building the core with key reserves who work well in your system can’t be overstated. Not only does it add depth, but makes Dallas a more appealing destination to those big names you’re trying to sign.
McDermott has a qualifying offer of just over 4 million. Like Nerlens Noel last summer, he’ll have the option of signing with the Mavs, signing an offer sheet somewhere else (which Dallas can match), or playing on the qualifying offer to become a unrestricted free agent next summer. Though the Mavericks have to make decisions on a few restricted and unrestricted free agents this summer, as well as chase all the other names out there, expect McDermott to be one of their priorities — whether the strike out elsewhere or not.
Assuming McDermott does return, he should fill a nice role behind Harrison Barnes. The bench unit was dynamite for Dallas this season, and McDermott fit comfortably in to the spot vacated by Harris. It’s possible, depending on other moves, that Dirk Nowitzki moves to an actual reserve role — making that bench mob a true second unit that would be a lot to handle.
Outside of his rookie year, McDermott has averaged 76 games per season. If you try to apply his output in Dallas and project to a full season, he would have given the Mavs 114 threes. Though a modest output in comparison to a few other Mavericks this year (Wesley Matthews, Yogi, Barea, Barnes and Dirk all had more), McDermott fills a role none of those players can. And if he’s being re-signed, it should be assumed that his role would only grow.
This season there were six different Mavericks (plus Aaron Harrison) that averaged four or more attempts from three per game. If McDermott joins that group and averages 4.5 per game (it would be a career high), shooting at his career average of 40 percent from deep, McDermott could give the Mavs 137 threes off the bench. A number that would put him just behind Matthews and Dirk this year. It’s the sort of help the Mavs desperately need from some wings with size.
Yes, these are just projections. But it begins to paint a picture of just how valuable a piece McDermott can be for the Mavericks as they fully transition to the next era.