Analyzing how Doug McDermott enhances the Indiana Pacers’ offense

SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 24: Doug McDermott #20 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs on October 24, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - OCTOBER 24: Doug McDermott #20 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs on October 24, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. (Photos by Mark Sobhani/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Indiana Pacers get a 3-point shooting boost when Doug McDermott enters the game, but just how much of an impact does he have?

When the Indiana Pacers brought in swingman Doug McDermott in the offseason, fan opinion wavered. The former Dallas Maverick garnered a three year, $22M deal, which is a fair contract for a shooting wing in today’s NBA.

The former 11th overall pick in 2014 out of Creighton, McDermott has always been a high-level shot maker. However, the rest of his game hasn’t developed as many had expected. He is somewhat of a journeyman, with Indiana being his fifth NBA team in five seasons.

Through the first four games of the 2018-19 NBA season, Dougie McBuckets has produced at as high a level you could have asked from him. McDermott has translated into exactly what Kevin Pritchard imagined: a big body on the wing, a sniper from three, and a smart offensive player.  The Pacers feigned for more volume three-point shooting after attempting the fifth fewest threes per game last season (24.5).

Unfortunately, the Pacers have taken the fourth fewest threes per game this season (25.2). They are, though, burning down the nets, leading the NBA in three-point percentage at 45.2%. McDermott has evidently contributed to this figure, shooting a fiery 47.6% from downtown on 4.2 attempts per game.

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Indiana’s bench has been arguably the best in the NBA and McDermott plays a large role in their success. In 19.8 minutes per game, McDermott has posted a solid 9.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game with an impressive 74.3 TS%.

McDermott’s on-off advanced splits have been unsustainably excellent to start the season. He has the widest on-off offensive rating split on the Pacers. When McDermott is on the floor, the Pacers’ offense rating is 118.3, which would rank second in the NBA only behind the Pelicans. When he takes a seat, Indiana’s offensive rating plummets to 103.1, which would rank 27th among NBA teams.

Doug McDermott opens up the floor for playmakers like Tyreke Evans and Victor Oladipo to operate. When Doug McDermott and Victor Oladipo play together, their offensive rating is a whopping 142.2, which is the best of any two-man duo on the Pacers that has appeared in at least four games.

Among duos who have appeared together in at least four games and in at least 20 total minutes, Oladipo and McDermott rank third only to Eric Bledsoe and Tony Snell and Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell.

Doug McDermott’s presence opens up the floor for other Pacers to operate. In the high pick and roll, Oladipo has more than enough space to generate good looks:

This lineup of Oladipo, McDermott, Darren Collison, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Domantas Sabonis has the highest net rating of any Pacers’ five-man lineup at 250. This number is a result of this lineup only spending two total minutes on the floor together but it is promising.

This unit, consisting of a playmaker, a big, and shooters, has devastating offensive potential. Again in the pick and roll, Oladipo has cornfields of space to work with:

This lineup of McDermott, Sabonis, Tyreke Evans, Thad Young, and Cory Joseph has the highest offensive rating of any Pacer lineup that’s appeared in at least three games and played at least 10 minutes. In their 19 minutes on the floor, this lineup has amassed an offensive rating of 119. McDermott’s defender has to stick to him, opening up a lane for Young to drive:

McDermott processes the floor and understands how to get to the open spots in the defense. Scrambling in transition, McDermott executes a great up fake and drops in the triple on the break:

The Pacers jump into a Globetrotter-esque weave at the top of the key. This is great play design here, as Myles Turner fakes a ball screen and screens for McDermott at the top of the key. This fake screen gets John Henson way behind the play and unable to contest the three. McDermott uses the left-right footwork into an uber-quick release, wetting the net:

McDermott can work as a player in the flow of the offense but Indiana does pull out the occasional play to get a McBuckets three. After bringing the ball across have court, the Pacers bust out a double staggered screen for McDermott, who runs wide open:

O’quinn’s roll sucks in McDermott’s defender, who is then forced to run him off of the three-point line when he closes out late. Dougie has the handle to attack the closeout and pull up from 20 feet:

McDermott has combined his shooting ability with decisive cutting and off-ball movement to become a dynamic complementary offensive piece. The Grizzlies defend this pick and roll about as poorly as you can; JaMychal Green is sluggish on his drop and Shelvin Mack fully commits to Joseph. Understanding that Chandler Parsons isn’t exactly a world-beater on defense, he slips in behind the defense for the ferocious slam:

Despite the aforementioned highlight, this cut is more indicative of McDermott’s gravity. Even though he is two passes away, Dante Cunningham feels inclined to stick to McDermott’s hip due to his shooting. McDermott sees that Cunningham is too close to him and beats him backdoor for the layup.

McDermott’s shooting opens up the floor for the rest of his teammates, as we have been discussing. He has the ability to make plays at a high enough level to take advantage of his sniper of a right arm. Pause the video once McDermott once he receives the handoff and count how many San Antonio defenders put their eyes on him. His shooting freezes the defense for a split second, allowing him to pocket pass to Sabonis for the wide open jam.

McDermott is fulfilling the value of his contract to the fullest to begin this season. McDermott’s dynamism as an offensive player off of the bench has opened up new doors for Indiana’s offense.

dark. Next. Should any Pacers players be playing more? Less?

Heading down the stretch, he and the bench will be key for the Pacers making a deep run this season.