Doug McDermott needs to play

Doug McDermott needs to play

Doug McDermott had a solid start to his NBA career, then he completely fell off the map and started playing like crap. As it turns out, he was playing on a bum knee which he recently had surgically repaired. Now maybe McDermott still stinks, but maybe he can contribute. The Bulls should find out.

It's not like Kirk Hinrich and Tony Snell are lighting up the scoreboard or destroying teams with their defense. Kirk is probably the worst player in the NBA to average over 25 minutes a game. Every advanced stat, including the defensive ones, shows the Bulls suffer with him on the floor and that his contributions are minimal.

What is Tony Snell giving you? He's a 3D guy who doesn't regularly provide three point shooting or defense. He's played better since moving into the starting lineup and getting consistent minutes as virtually any player would, but his better still isn't anything to write home about.

You know who else might improve with regular playing time? Doug McDermott.

Would he be better than Kirk/Snell? Maybe. Maybe not. At this point there's very little downside to trying and plenty of upside though. For 10 minutes a game, even if he's worse, how much is it really going to hurt you? Are you scared you might lose a game you shouldn't? We've done that plenty with the existing guys.

As a team, the Bulls are really feeling the impact of not having spacing. They're missing the specific skill which McDermott brings to the table [at least theoretically]. It's time to give him a shot to see if he can bring it.

In an ideal world, I'd give him the Bogans. Start him so that he plays with quality players who will most take advantage of his spacing, get him easier shots, and limit his weaknesses defensively. It would maximize his skills by putting them where they are needed most.

The bench unit isn't missing spacing nearly so much as the starters, and the bench needs a wing defender far more than the starters. So in short, this:
1: Maximizes McDermott's skills by putting him in a place where they are needed.
2: Minimizes his weaknesses by putting him with players who can cover them.
3: Minimizes Kirk/Snell's offensive weaknesses by giving them more time with a bench unit that has more shooting.
4: Allows Kirk/Snell to better play to their strengths with a bench unit that needs wing defense.
5: Allows the Bulls to test out a player to see if he can fill a void they are obviously feeling the pain from

It's an outside the box approach that I wouldn't likely have ever considered except that our coach has already proven he'll play less effective players that need to chew up minutes in this fashion while keeping them off the floor during the critical stretches. Bogans/Boozer both served this role and it worked out okay for Chicago.

The primary downside to the approach is the pride you're hurting of the guy you pull from the starting lineup, however, there is no such guy for Chicago right now. We're just biding time until Dunleavy is back.

Maybe McDermott is just a train wreck in practice. Maybe the Bulls already know this guy isn't the guy and regret the pick. I'm hoping that isn't the case. I'm hoping we give the guy more than 200 NBA minutes before writing him off.

Anyway else think "here comes the let down game"

The Bulls haven't been consistent with effort all season, after a big win against Golden State, they walk into L.A. to play a Lakers team they should crush. However, my bet is that they don't crush the Lakers and that they instead eke out a win.

It wouldn't surprise me if they somehow manage to lose the game all together. We'll see if Chicago can muster some energy against an opponent that isn't elite. If they want to chase down the good seeds in the East, they'd better start bringing some consistency.

The Bulls currently stand a game behind Washington, a game and a half behind Toronto, and three games ahead of Cleveland whom has quietly won eight in a row. Chicago's proven they can play with anyone. Unfortunately they've also proven they can lose to anyone.

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  • Not sure what it's going to take for this stubborn a$$ coach to play McDermott more and at the very least keep playing Mirotic at the small forward position. Unfortunately it's going to take an injury for Hinrich to play less. Pretty sure the Bulls would rather have the players Denver selected No. 16 pick Jusuf Nurkic, No. 19 pick Gary Harris or better yet Zach LaVine. Wait I'm sorry, Capt stubborn wouldn't play him anyway.

  • it would be McDermott get some minutes. It's not like he is a 19 year-old who came into the league based on upside. He was a senior college player of the year and showed he could play with the best in the world during the US team practices. Thibs is just so ridiculously stubborn. The minutes thing is killing me. This team has depth if he would just use it. Yes, there are exceptions like Duncan, Jordan and Lebron, but they are exceptions and freak of nature athletes. Yes, even Duncan-- I remember Timmy defending PG's in pick and roll situations as a rookie and it was incredible how quick his lateral movement was. As you age, your stamina remains (in some cases increases), but your ability to recover drops. playing these guys huge minutes game after game will catch up to them and grind them down.

  • Doug's entire argument for playing McD is spot-on, but it will never happen. Thibs has his starting lineup(s) set, and McD is simply not in the equation. The best we can hope for at this point, is that McD gets 10 minutes of game time somewhat consistently.

    I also completely agree about tonight being a let-down game, as that would totally fit the pattern we have seen from the Bulls thus far. But I suppose acknowledging a let-down game means I'm not a true Bulls fan, as only true fans are enlightened enough to realize the organization shits rainbows and butterflies, and continually dropping games to sub-.500 teams is a clearly an indicator of imminent post-season dominance.

  • In reply to BullsMan:

    Now, now, no need for that last sentence.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Ha! Were your ears burning or did you drop a fork?

  • I would love to see McDermott play, but they way this season is going I would rather hope Sacramento start winning some games so we get their 11th pick as this team is not winning the championship.

  • In reply to Sluggers:

    Sitting here in January, I don't think we know who's going to win or who won't. A month ago we thought the Bulls had a gray shot and weight feel the same way a month from now. They have the talent, if they can just put it all together.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    One (of a number of them) thing that always got to me about the Bulls having a chance high enough to be worth mentioning of winning it all this season, and is getting to me now when I see national news folks criticize Rose, is that the sports community has said for a long time it takes a year of playing to come back from a torn ACL. Derrick tore his ACL and then came back and had another season-ending knee injury.

    We're only a half a season into Derrick's return and nobody seems to remember that little nugget about it taking a full season of play to come back from just the one season-ending injury that Derrick had two of back to back. They brought Pau in to win now and this team has a lot of vets who are getting worse year to year, it's almost like this team is set up to fail sometimes. We're set up for basically one or two shots with pretty low odds to begin with given all the considerations.

  • Lots of complaints about Thibs lately, myself included. Joe Cowley said on The Score that he couldn't see Thibs with the Bulls beyond this year. Cowley is the very definition of a sensationalist, tabloid journalist but if true, would this be good or bad news?

    No way the Spurs beat the Heat last year if Thibs replaced Pops, but do the Heat beat the Spurs if Thibs replaced Spo?

  • As Doug said, we know Tom Thibodeau will use "vets" to chew up minutes even if those players are simply put: inferior. Of course this brings to mind Kirk Hinrich. However, it should also bring to mind.. 34 year old Mike Dunleavy.

    Again, if you do a silly thing, like look at the past eight NBA Champions, you'll see year after year the SF position occupied by guys who have two qualities. 1) Mostly we're talking guys in their physical prime and or rebounding studs that translate as still superior at a later age aka Shawn Marion.

    When you look at rebounding per minutes played, 34 year old Mike Dunleavy occupying nearly 30 minutes per game with 3.8 rebounds, simply, he stinks. People can be "waiting for Mike Dunleavy to come back," but there is no Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Shawn Marion, or Kawhi Leonard waking through that door. Even teams who won like the Lakers who played SF by committee per minutes and in total their rebounding is far superior to 34 year old well past his prime physically Mike Dunleavy.

    Jimmy Butler has played 60 percent of his herculean minutes at SG according to Basketball-Reference.com. Mike Dunleavy at 30 mpg IS your small forward. And he sucks. Nobody is winning a championship with Mike Dunleavy as a major minutes small forward. Period.

    In 4 out of the 5 playoff games vs Washington Mike Dunleavy KILLED you in either volume threes or twos with terrible percentages. Only the one out of 5 Ben Gordon deception game did he explode. And even if you aren't buying taht view of his stats/production there is simply no denying his shitty ass rebounding totals of 3.6 in nearly 33 minutes a game. That is awful.

    There is no way on earth you are building a championship winning momentum or chemistry or team with 34 year old Mike Dunleavy. Nor is there any room for 28 minutes per game 1.8 lame ass rebounds in 34 year old Kirk Hinrich. There is no way in hell this team with this many minutes occupied by inferior players gets you there. No way.

    Either Thibs wakes up to this fact(which we know there's not a chance in hell he will) and starts playing Niko who is a solid rebounder per minutes played and thus viable legit minutes of 24-25 per game MINIMUM or the Bulls have no chance. People can say he stinks defensively where he has blatantly missed assignments at times, but myself at times have thought he looks active and there's no denying his shot blocks, steals, and of course rebounds per minutes played are legit. I'll take him at SF any day over Mike F-ing Dunleavy.

    And as far as Doug McDermott(who if he pans out at all better be called something besides Dougie McBuckets which is the lamest nickname I've ever heard as in cheesy as hell). I know he said he likes the nickname, but he's still young and in time he will realize the error of his ways. Regardless, while I didn't want to draft him, he certainly should be explored in a meaningful way either in sustainable 8 minute blocks as Doug suggests or with every other game 16 minute chunks to gain continuity and confidence. It's either develop Niko and McD or suffer the consequences.

    Bottom line: anybody who looks historically at NBA champions and the respective positions occupied by Mike Dunleavy and Kirk Hinrich and thinks Thibs is not INCOMPETENT and IGNORANT with his no way in hell you win with these old klunks commitment in minutes to them then you better think again. Because he is screwing the pooch to kingdom come right now in regards to building a team with any hope of winning an NBA Championship this season.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    So would you be in favor of letting Thibs go after this season? Obviously we don't know who would replace him, it's a roll of the dice.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Correct. Who replaces Thibs? However, since it is virtually impossible for the Bulls to win a title, or even the ECF, with either Kirk or Dunleavy starting, and stubborn Thibs seems delusional on this, he will be replaced! Trade him for a pick!

    If the next coach is worse, then what difference does it make? At least they will get higher picks.

    To win this year, a lot of things have to fall right. But unless they trade for a starter at SG/SF and that guy suddenly transforms into a star, they are going to need at least one of the M & M boys to blossom. How does that happen if they do not play enough? And if they do not play enough now, how does that happen when Dunleavy comes back?

    It was a big mistake for the FO to resign Kirk. If they had to do it, it should only have been for the minimum.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    The Bulls supposedly tried to get him to come back for the minimum. He was insulted and refused, then the Bulls foolishly caved because they somehow believed his agent that even at the room exception he was taking less money to remain a Bull. They should have made the vets minimum a take it or leave it offer, you know like the Bears did to Urlacher. Nevermind the difference in the status of those 2 guys.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    My sense is that the Bulls really hate to "amnesty" coaches, i.e. pay 2 guys at once, so Thibs is at least safe until his contract expires, which is what, 2 more years after this one?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    They could easily let Thibs go and do one of those trades to another team to get out of paying him and get compensation as well. How much do you think the Lakers would pay for Thibs? Quite a bit I'd guess. Compensation might just be a heavily protected 1st, but you'd get something.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Absolutely! Thibs might have to OK the trade, but if LAL offered him a raise he might jump at it.

  • I hope that win against the Warriors gives the Bulls the confidence they need to buck the trend. As for the Lakers who knows, one things for sure this will be an emotional game for Gasol so it may impact his performance. I'm going to give the Bulls the benefit of the doubt and say they blow these guys out as they should for one simple reason. Noah's back. If Noah could continue to play like he did against the Warriors then things are really looking up. I've also read a rumor that Noah wants to play center and wouldn't mind coming off the bench to do it. I think that could be the answer to all our front court issues. Because for one Gasol would be bumped to starting center and given his slow movements and rim protector skill set that's his ideal position. Taj becomes the starting power forward which would greatly boost his morale. Then you have Noah bringing energy and defense off the bench playing at his natural position. This also opens the door for more playing time of Mirotic at pf.

    As for McDermott you never know, knee surgery is tricky business. He may be cleared to play and as fans we all want to see him out there, but you never know how he's really feeling or whats going on with his body. Best bet is the coaches have a birds eye view at practice and maybe just don't feel like he's ready to contribute full speed just yet. Just look at Rose and Noah all season long they've played on minutes restrictions and has looked rusty all throughout, only now are they starting to resemble the players we know. As a rookie with his 1st major injury it may take McD more time.

  • In reply to ajaychitown:

    That's nice if Noah comes off the bench but it would still be best for the Bulls if he and Pao can coexist on the floor and close games together.

  • Side note: It's too bad the new wave, rich tycoon owner who thinks he's the G.M. aka "wants to be more involved" has visited the Sacramento Kings. Vivek Ranadive: computer wizard turned billionaire = competent pro sports exec right out of the shoot - right?

    Firing Mike Malone as a coach who was just hitting pay dirt with emerging scoring machine(though yes attitude problem) DeMarcus Cousins was a death sentence to their chances of staying out of the "top" ten of lotto bound ten worst teams. What are they 5-17 or something with Tyrone Corbin as the retread pasty aka interim head coach who will preside over the tanking of the S.S. Sac. King? Coaches and leadership do make a difference and with three prime scorers and a load of vets this team could definitely have beaten out the 10 worst to the finish line. And then came Tyrone Corbin. Can someone say, "Hellooo lottery!"

    And so sadly down goes the Bulls presumptive first round lottery pick with the ship. It's funny you think of drafts as overrated, but what really is the case is that the now freshman dominated NBA lottery of AAU bred players actually possesses many talented individuals who IN TIME emerge as legit NBA players and all-stars.

    Look back five years and supposed draft disappointments and "busts" like DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors are now legit NBA bigs who many teams at least in performance alone would kill for. In his first two seasons Cousins did score some, but due to sheer volume more then efficiency. Only in his third season did things really start to click. And Favors took even longer.

    This past year's draft even in three, four or five years may be looked back on as overrated(though I doubt it), but the "one and dones" are the real concern. If players stayed a minimum of three years in college they would be ready to contribute to floundering franchises and resurrect fan hopes immediately. And sure the Kobes and Garnetts of the world should have the right to bypass college but those who do need some training then once entered GET the training and stay three years.

    Because the fans and the game don't owe it to these guys who have done nothing professionally to sacrifice the quality and really the integrity of the pro game just to "guarantee" young guys pay checks. And if you really want to then create a fund where any top 30 rated player if they do get a devastating injury in college then they get $2-4 Mill "insurance" payment that I'm sure most of us would kill for. Anyway, thanks again Vivek(King's owner), we really didn't need Delon Wright or Mario Hezonja anyway.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    It's funny, if you google him and look at the picture featured in the montage for Vivek Ranadive he gives the same cold-hearted mercenary impression as Mikhail Prokhorov who's stewardship of the Nets has been a real boon(doggle) for Brooklyn fans everywhere. Hands up if you love egocentric profit barons who look upon American sports franchises less as a love affair with the fans and more an investment based on appreciating values. Good thing the new generation of American NBA franchise owners don't think that way..? Well at least our owner isn't like that.. umm.. never mind.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yes, it is amazing that a coach who turned around a losing taem gets fired because the owner didn't like the "pace" of the team.

    The real tragedy is that Cousins liked playing for Malone and listened to him. Now, he probably will regress to his previous pouting.

    The warning sign for this team is when they drafted Stauskas, who they didn't need. I recall Vivek telling critics that they were all wrong and that Stauskas and McLemore could play together. Reminded me when David Khan drafted Jonny Flynn along with Rubio. Said the same thing.

    Also, letting Isaiah Thomas go was stupid IMO. Very underrated. Won a ton of games for them.

  • Since today's post is a what if proposition, and Doug discussed the possibility of a letdown game tonight, I have a question for Bulls fans.
    We've won 6-8 games against the top teams in the league, particularly the west, the tougher conference. We have also lost 6-8 games against sub 500 teams, many of those losses at home.

    So here is the question, would you feel better or worse about this team if we had the exact same record but had won all the games against the bad teams, but lost all the games against the good teams?

    My sense is that we would feel worse, since we wright off the losses as lack of effort, but take the wins as signs that we can compete for a championship. If the reverse were true, we would simply feel like we are not good enough to compete with the top teams.

    As for McDNP, I agree with Doug's thesis wholeheartedly even if I am dubious that we made the right pick in the long run.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You make a valid point, but I tend to compare this season to the 60+ win seasons before the ACL injury. When compared to that, this current incarnation of the Rose/Thibs teams simply is not where it needs to be. It doesn't matter if they lose equally to good and bad teams, or win against all bad and lose against all good...either way they are not currently in a strong position to advance deep into the playoffs; and that fact makes me feel the worst.

  • My concern about McDermott is that he looked incredibly slow and unathletic during the regular season before he had surgery. I am hoping that was because of the bum knee. If not, we might have another Adam Morrison on our hands.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Another concern I have with McDermott is his height. I don't care what it says in the program, DraftExpress, or whatever, he looks somewhat short for a three.

    Having said that, I think Doug is just too skilled a player not to find a niche in the league. I expect him to be a much better player next year.

  • Anyone notice that Irving had a double nickel last night including the game winning 3, with Lebron out, and he "only" missed 19 shots along the way.

  • I love Douggie McBuckets and expect him to become a very good NBA player. But this is not the year, and not just because Thibs is stubborn. The Bulls struggle with shooting, but they struggle more with continuity, consistency, communication, and defensive rebounding. Doug would just hurt us in all of those... a LOT. They really do score more than enough on most nights.

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