LAS VEGAS – It’s not a badge that Doug McDermott wears proudly, but he wears it.
There’s something to be said about that.
Going into his third NBA season, the former 11th overall pick from the 2014 draft admittedly has been overwhelmed on the defensive end some nights. What bothers him, however, is the outside perception that he’s a liability on defense every time he steps on the court.
That’s something he refuses to wear.
“I know people carry expectations before the games even start, and obviously there were times where I struggled defensively,’’ McDermott said recently. “But in the NBA it’s hard to stop guys. It’s the best players in the world, and you’re going to have nights where guys score on you a lot, but you’re going to have nights where you play well defensively.
“I feel like I had some games where I held my own out there and did a good job, but it’s the games that you struggle that people really remember. For me it’s about moving onto the next game and understanding things happen throughout the course of a season.
“I don’t want to be a liability. I want to be known as a team defender. That starts with working out and watching film with our staff this summer.’’
McDermott’s done more than that. He’s not only been a gym rat at the Advocate Center and in the weight room, but he’s shown improvements in all areas of his game.
In trading Mike Dunleavy and Jose Calderon to make room for Dwyane Wade’s two-year, $47.5 million contract, the Bulls have put a lot on McDermott’s shoulders. Fred Hoiberg acknowledged that on Sunday, admitting that McDermott will be their primary three-point shooter on a roster all but void of marksmen.
“Yeah, obviously we’re going to need guys to space the floor and make shots,’’ Hoiberg said. “We feel Doug’s one of the best shooters in the league. We’re doing a lot of 1-on-0 defensive stuff with him, doing a lot of 2-on-2, 3-on-3 stuff with Doug right now and working on a lot of technique.
“Last year was basically Doug’s rookie season. He got a lot of minutes and made a lot of mistakes on that end as all young players do. But he does own up to it, he wants to get better. He’s going to work on it every day. He’s going to have to be on the floor a lot for us.’’
McDermott spent the last few weeks working out with the Summer League team, and will start practicing with the Team USA Select team in a few weeks.
The hope is the more work McDermott can get in the better off he’ll be on both sides of the ball.
“It’s about being able to play in all 82 games,’’ McDermott said. “Being able to guard multiple guys. Not being a liability out there. Being a team defender. That’s what this summer is about for me.’’