Three-ball, corner pocket thanks to Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott

SHARE Three-ball, corner pocket thanks to Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott

Doug McDermott wants what Nikola Mirotic has.

And it’s not the beard or the two extra inches of height.

It’s that short-term memory that Mirotic has after bad games or bad weeks. It’s that confidence. The good news for McDermott in year two in the NBA? It’s coming.

Following a 3-for-6 shooting night from beyond the three-point line in Monday’s win in Philadelphia, McDermott was third in the league in shooting percentage from long range (.576), and tied for fifth in total threes made with 19.

There’s been some bad defensive games from the forward and at least one quick hook from his coach, but he’s not carrying it over to the offensive side of his game like he did when he did play last season.

Obviously, maturity plays a factor in McDermott’s growth in that department, but he was also crediting the new system he’s playing in after his latest 18-point showing.

“It’s a little different,’’ McDermott said of life with new coach Fred Hoiberg. “I feel like it suits me a little better, being a shooter, you know. I feel like the pace has really helped me. Obviously, still working on some things and it’s still early in the year, and looking forward to getting better.’’

He’s not alone in that idea.

Mirotic was arguably the Bulls best player through the first three games, averaging 19.7 points and eight rebounds a game in that time. Then he hit a four-game wall. Or maybe that wall hit him, as the league adjusted to Mirotic now being a starter, and attacked him on the defensive end.

Before the 20-point, 10-rebound outing against Philadelphia, Mirotic had a four-game skid in which he shot just 22 percent from the field and was all set to lose his starting job to Joakim Noah, before Noah’s left knee acted up in warmups Monday night.

Hoiberg, however, seems far less concerned with Mirotic off games than he once McDermott hits a cold streak.

“[Mirotic has] been playing at such a high level from a very young age,’’ Hoiberg said. “I think there is something to that, to be able to fight through those tough times. Doug has done a good job of that this year going back to the preseason game when he hit some big ones at the end of the game against Dallas, including the game-winner. It’s about maintaining it. I know it’s easier said than done.

“As a shooter, you miss a few, it’s human nature. It gets in your head a little bit, especially guys who care as much as Niko and Doug do. You make that first one and it makes things easier.’’

More importantly, McDermott and Mirotic seem to feed off each other’s threes.

“It’s just what the offense is built to do,’’ Mirotic said. “We make plays for each other. The good thing is about this team is the other team is more focused on Derrick [Rose], Jimmy [Butler], Pau [Gasol], so we can have more open shots, me and Doug, especially Doug. He’s making those shots. Shooting the ball great.

“Like I said before, my goal is defense and I want to keep working on that. I don’t want to be just a shooter. I want to rebound the ball, push the ball, and make plays for my teammates because I can’t depend on if I’m going to make a three-pointer or not.’’

NOTE: The Bulls called a Wednesday press conference where there are expected to announce that they have received approval from Hoffman Estates to start a Developmental League team there for the start of the 2016-17 season.

The Latest
Two men were fatally shot Friday in their vehicles in separate shootings about three miles apart on the South Side.
The league’s collective-bargaining agreement with the players, signed in 2020 and effective through the 2027 season, doesn’t include charter flights
The man, 38, was driving in the 500 block of West 95th Street when someone fired a gun from the sidewalk.
The man, 62, was in a stopped vehicle about 11:09 p.m. in the 800 block of West 71st Street when he was shot in the head.
He was found at 5:17 a.m. Saturday in the 3900 block of West Fillmore Street with a gunshot wound to the chest.