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Hey look, Doug McDermott is turning into a functional NBA player

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In praise of Doug, for once.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This likely deserves a deeper dive, but Doug McDermott was especially good against the Grizzlies last night, scoring 17 points on 6/12 shooting (4/7 from three). He made the Grizzlies pay whenever left open.

It's been a resurgent  (or I suppose just 'surgent'... ) season for McDermott, who is shooting lights out. His 3pt% is good for 8th in the entire league at 44.6%, and has been even hotter from mid-range.

Buckets

(nba.com/stats)

The restricted-area percentage (50%) is actually slightly worse off than last year, but it sure seems like he's finishing much better inside and not getting the shit swatted out of him too often.

But better still is he's looking for his shot more, and since Hoiberg's lineup adjustments have had him playing alongside Nikola Mirotic and passing-pal Joakim Noah (quality shooting from the Hinrich-Brooks duo helps too) that second unit has looked a lot better than earlier in the season

(Rob Mahoney at SI.com has just published a fine piece on the Bulls new bench unit)

And his defense, maligned earlier in the year too, has improved. It's a subtle improvement but it's there, as noticed by Zach Lowe last week:

McDermott doesn't need to be a stopper on defense to help Chicago. He just needs to be playable, and he appears to have put in the work to get there.

Watch McBuckets' footwork the next time you catch Chicago: the way he sinks into the paint to help, closes back out on a shooter, and holds his ground when that guy tries to blow by him. He has made massive progress.

McDermott himself has felt the change:

"I just feel so much more confident. Last year I was kind of scared out there," McDermott said. "It starts with the defensive end, I'm starting to understand things more. And I don't think about stuff on offense much either. I really want the ball. I feel like I can make it the majority of time."

This has been huge for the Bulls, who need competent SF play in the wake of Mike Dunleavy's injury. Thankfully McDermott has improved to the point where he's more than playable, he's an asset. I will still be on the lookout for Vines when he goofs on defense, though.