Doug McDermott is stringing together some consistent basketball. He's shown great flashes at various points throughout his career, occasionally putting up points in bunches or hitting key shots down the stretch.
But now, he's refined his game and has become the ideal system player in New York. Whenever his name is mentioned, the three-point threat almost immediately follows. Yet, it's been McDermott's cutting which has separated him from everyone else on the roster.
McDermott is taking 33% of his shots between zero and three feet of the rim this year, up from 14% in the back half of last season with the Thunder. Importantly, he's been making 75% of these attempts, which is up by 15% on his career average.
Coach Jeff Hornacek has used McDermott in a variety of lineups this season, but perhaps his most effective minutes have come with Kyle O'Quinn. The Knicks have run many sets where O'Quinn will catch the ball at the elbow, while McDermott comes off a screen for a back cut. It's a straightforward action that has paid dividends for the 26-year old wing.
The Knicks are using McDermott in the right way. 100% of McDermott's corner threes have been assisted (he's making 41.7% from there), and he's shooting 40% from behind the arc in general.
The sample sizes for five-man groups are a little too small to make snap judgments on. The four-man groups are a little more promising. The Knicks are outscoring their opponents by 45 points per 100 possessions when Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, and Tim Hardaway Jr are on the floor with McDermott. That's only a 40-minute sample size, but the results are also promising when you sub in O'Quinn for either Porzingis or Ntilikina.
Perhaps the most impressive part of McDermott's tenure as a Knick so far has been his help defense. Once seen as a liability, McDermott fights over screens and knows when to rotate to try and clog the lane and when to try and get in the passing lanes.
The numbers are backing it up too. The Knicks are +7.1 points better when McDermott is on the court. Importantly, the opponents' offensive rating sits at a whopping 111.5 when McDermott is off the court, but when he comes in it drops to a far more respectable 105.6. It's not overly inspiring, but the idea of playing McDermott and Lance Thomas all of Michael Beasley's minutes certainly will help on the less glamorous end of the court.
The Knicks did not get world beaters in Enes Kanter and McDermott when they traded Carmelo Anthony, but they have exceeded expectations as role players.