San Antonio Spurs Doug McDermott Jersey

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The signing of Doug McDermott filled a giant hole in the San Antonio Spurs’ offense. As one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in terms of attempts and percentage last season, his addition is bound to improve both. One of the deadliest shooters in the NBA, McDermott will also provide floor spacing that hasn’t been present in the starting lineup since 2018.

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McDermott’s ability to make backdoor cuts and even create his own drives with the ball is underrated as well, as I recently highlighted in breaking down one of his greatest career games. Still, while he’ll make a positive impact overall on the Spurs’ offense, there’s one troubling statistic about his game on that end of the court that will need to be held in check.

When doing some research for the best pure shooter on the current roster, I came across one surprising weakness related to his shooting– one that has to do with distance from the hoop. Here’s how his career field goal percentage breaks down by distance:

0-3 ft: 65.8%
3-10 ft: 44.7%
10-16 ft: 40.7%
16 ft-3P line: 35.7%
3P line: 40.7%

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Given how accurate of a shooter McDermott is, the fact that he’s shooting below 36% from that 7-foot, 9-inch range inside the 3-point line is concerning. For context, here are the career percentages of some other current Spurs from that range.

Dejounte Murray: 43.2%
Keldon Johnson: 46.2%
Derrick White: 45.2%
Bryn Forbes: 47.3%
Thaddeus Young: 38.2%

McDermott is a better shooter than all but Bryn on that list, so why is his percentage from that zone so low? Well, a deeper dive shows a severe drop in that department over the last four years. After shooting 41.4% from there from 2014-17, that percentage has plummeted to 29.6% from the 2017-18 season to present day. Last season, he shot just 22.2% from just inside the arc.

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The numbers suggest McDermott should focus on either shooting threes or getting inside the 16-foot range before firing away. Luckily, he already seems to know that. Across his first five seasons, 13% of his total shots were from between 16 feet and the 3-point line. Over the last two seasons, that number has been cut down to 4.4%

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The coaching staff would be best served to get Doug into situations in which he can come off a curl for a drive or spot-up shot from the outside, because the high inside-arc range seems to be a serious weak point with evidence over multiple seasons. This trend is definitely something to keep tabs on as the Spurs explore how to best utilize McDermott’s shooting to its highest potential.

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