Someone please pass Doug McDermott the ball

Doug McDermott, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Doug McDermott, Indiana Pacers (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

For Doug McDermott to be effective for the Indiana Pacers, he’s going to need the ball at some point.

The Indiana Pacers don’t shoot many threes. We know this. They make a lot of the ones they do take, but they don’t take a lot. For most players, the current situation is fine. For Doug McDermott, the team not getting him shots from the outside is hurting his productivity.

Look at what happens when McDermott gets the ball within the flow of the offense:

We all knew that McDermott could do this when the Pacers signed him. It is literally why the Pacers nabbed him at all. They wanted shooting. They went for JJ Reddick, but after missing out on him, they grabbed Mcbuckets. He fit a need the team needed to fill.

But the Pacers don’t seem to want to use him as a shooter. This seems obvious, but it deserves mention: you can’t shoot the ball unless it gets passed to you. Unfortunately, the ball is rarely getting passed to Doug McDermott.

McD is currently rocking a 12.6 percent usage rate, the second lowest number on the Pacers, only ahead of defensive specialist Cory Joseph. This marks the lowest usage of McDermott’s career, and by a pretty solid amount. It’s over a percent lower than his previous career low figure from his time in Oklahoma City and is 3.6 percent below his career mark. He’s just not getting the ball as much.

Shooting is a skill that comes with rhythm. McDermott is still shooting a superb percentage from the outside on the season, but he just can’t get any sort of consistency going when he is getting the ball as little as he is. He actually has a career high three-point attempt rate, 72 (!) percent of his shots have come from the outside, and yet he is still only shooting about his career average of 2.8 three-point attempts per game. That is a problem.

If the Pacers aren’t getting McDermott the ball when he is this open, then a serious talk needs to be had about what his role actually is:

Even when he isn’t shooting the ball, it’s not like McDermott is some big negative when he had the ball in his hands anyway. He rarely dribbles — he takes an average of .26 dribbles per time he catches the ball, only Ike Anigbogu bounces the ball less frequently. He knows he isn’t a creator, and it isn’t his role to put the ball on the floor, so he simply doesn’t.

That translates to other non-shooting actions too. McDermott never turns the ball over, his 6.9 turnover percentage is the lowest mark on the Pacers for dudes actually in the rotation, That number would have been 5th in the league last season for guys with as many minutes as McDermott.

Since he never dribbles and he never turns it over, that means he is generally making a positive play when he has the ball in his hands, like this:

The Indiana Pacers offense has been great with McD on the floor. Despite playing mostly in bench-heavy units, McDermott offers enough spacing to keep the offense working; the team has roughly the same offensive rating with McDermott on and off the court.

But that doesn’t mean things can’t be better. Who is to say the Pacers second unit couldn’t be better if McDermott got more touches? Perhaps running him off some more screens or having him cut more frequently to get the ball could make the second unit even more potent. What drawbacks are there to doing this set more often?

McDermott shouldn’t play more. His defense has been as advertised: terrible. But when he is in the game, getting the ball in his hands should move up the priority list. He is a shooter, and those players need the ball to shoot.

Next. Who cares about pace of play?. dark

Perhaps once McDermott gets more acclimated to his new teammates, he will get the ball more often. That would be a welcome improvement to the Indiana Pacers offense. It’s early in the season, so we will have to wait and see if that happens. But I am begging you, someone please pass Doug McDermott the ball.