While I predicted something different for the Chicago Bulls and the 2014 Draft, I think the Bulls made the exact right move trading their 16th and 19th picks for small forward Doug McDermott. This year’s Chicago Bulls X-factor will most certainly be Creighton’s superstar.
Lingering rumors about his possible trade for the acquisition of Kevin Love aside, McDermott is an incredibly focused, skilled and talented basketball player whose career is only just beginning. Leading the NCAA with an average of 26.7 points per game and a 52% field goal percentage, McDermott is the scoring power the Bulls have been lacking since point guard Derrick Rose’s injuries.
Standing at 6-feet-8 and 225 pounds, McDermott will dominate the floor and provide immediate results for the Bulls. With Rose back this season to create some plays, McDermott serves as an alternate three-point shooter to relieve Jimmy Butler, who averaged only 28.3% for three-point shooting, per Bleacher Report.
McDermott is young, only 22, so the obvious concern is how his incredible skills at the collegiate level will transfer over into the NBA. Under head coach Tom Thibodeau’s wing, McDermott’s talents will only flourish and improve. McDermott will mesh well with Thibs and the star-studded team with his already very clear understanding of the game.
“I’m going to have to gain his respect and work my tail off,” McDermott told the Chicago Tribune of his new NBA coach.
McDermott is already starting to pick up his game to an NBA level out in Las Vegas. According to the Chicago Tribune, he is at 20.3 points per game through Chicago’s first three summer league matches. He’s also already looking to improve, noting that is offensive spacing is “awful” and that he made some “stupid” choices in his debut game after reviewing film with assistant coach Andy Greer.
Spoken like a true coach’s son, McDermott is very self-reflective, “I’m trying to add things to my game every day. I think I’m a lot more than a shooter. I feel I’m a complete player. And having a coach like Tom Thibodeau will only help me.”
Dougie McBuckets, or NCAA’s consensus All-American Player, will also need to improve his defensive skills. McDermott is used to less physicality and easier positioning at the collegiate level. Luckily, he has Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah alongside the best defense in the league to help him out.
Overall, McDermott will be the Chicago Bulls’ X-factor with his incredible intelligence of the game, his readiness to adapt and learn, and of course, his shooting skills. He’s ready for the NBA, “There’s a lot of motivation. The chip is never coming off my shoulder, regardless of what situations I’m in. I’m just a competitor. I’m excited to bring that to this team.”