After an abysmal rookie year, Doug McDermott enters the 2015-2016 season with the potential to turn things around.
McDermott’s playing time was about as visible as a thumb tack last year.
He averaged only 3.0 points while playing fewer than 10 minutes per game. Most of those minutes came after the games were far out of reach.
Former coach Tom Thibodeau banked on star talent and didn’t give the former Naismith College Player of the Year time to shine. Under that formula the players in Thibodeau’s regular rotation played more minutes than the rest of the NBA.
Shooting guard Jimmy Butler led all players in minutes per game last season at 38.7, according to ESPN. Pau Gasol averaged 34.4 per game, his highest average in three years.
Derrick Rose’s minutes increased each month of the 2014-2015 season, starting at 23 and expanding to 30 minutes.
But newly hired coach Fred Hoiberg brings hope for the former Creighton star.
Known as “The Mayor,” Hoiberg comes to the Bulls from Iowa State where over five seasons he led the Cyclones to an impressive 115 – 56 record, won the Big 12 Conference tournament championships in 2014 and 2015, and reached the NCAA Tournament in four straight seasons.
Hoiberg offense, which relies on a fast pace and an evenly distributed rotation, can work to McDermott’s advantage. Hoiberg also likes to spread the court and depend on the three-ball, which plays into McDermott’s strengths.
While Rose remains the primary ball-handler, McDermott should see more chances to be a decision-maker.
Though the season is only a few games old, it is apparent McDermott is benefiting from the new scheme.
Through five games McDermott has played 20 minutes per game.
He is shooting a staggering 60-percent from beyond the arc and 51.4-percent overall from the field.
McDermott is currently 12-of-20 on three-pointers this season tying him for third in made three-pointers, behind 2014 league MVP Steph Curry and fellow teammate Nikola Mirotic.
McDermott hit five 3-pointers en route to a career-high 17 points against the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday, thought the Bulls still lost 130 – 105.
The young sharpshooter said he’s having more fun this year thanks to his greater role.
So far it seems the hiring of Fred Hoiberg was a momentum-changing moment in McDermott’s young NBA career.
Emerging from a forgettable rookie season, McDermott may be a name to remember come playoff time.