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The Bulls’ Doug McDermott problem

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McDermott’s minutes are dwindling at a time where the Bulls could really use him

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Doug McDermott came into this season as an important piece to the Bulls’ puzzle, especially given the lack of shooting on the roster. After making notable strides in his second year, there was hope he could continue to develop in his third NBA season and become a consistent contributor.

Unfortunately, McDermott appears to be going backward. A concussion earlier this season was a notable setback, but we’re now over two months since he returned from that. And at a time where the Bulls could really use McDermott’s skill set, his minutes are dwindling due to his overall ineffectiveness.

Since that 31-point outburst in Memphis, McDermott hasn’t played more than 24 minutes in any game (12 games). His overall shooting numbers are good (46.2 FG%, 42.9 3P%), but that’s in only 18.6 minutes per game and he’s done little else. The Bulls’ offensive rating in those McDermott minutes is a poor 101.1, and we know he’s not doing anything to help the defense.

The month of February has been especially disheartening. McDermott is at just over 16 minutes per game this month, and again while he’s shooting well (51.7 FG%, 36.4 3P%), it’s on little volume and he’s doing basically nothing else. And that’s no joke:

The Bulls have been outscored by a whopping 16.9 points per 100 possessions in McDermott’s 81 February minutes. We’ve seen him get burned off the dribble by such luminaries as Corey Brewer and Malachi Richardson. He wound up on Shaqtin’ A Fool for a comically bad turnover in Sacramento.

Also remember that three of these February games came without Jimmy Butler, and one was without both Butler and Wade. Furthermore, Paul Zipser, who’s gone ahead of McDermott in the rotation, missed the last game-plus with an injury. And still McDermott isn’t seeing many minutes, showing that Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg is losing faith in him. And Hoiberg’s non-response to the question about McDermott’s recent struggles was comical:

I’m not going to rehash the McDermott draft-night trade, but it’s hard to say he’s been anything but a disappointment. While he still can provide value at times and has shown development in his offensive game, he’s already 25 years old and I’m not sure the ceiling is that much higher than what we’re seeing now. Perhaps with a different coach/system he’d be “unleashed,” but I can’t confidently say that, although it’s worth pointing out that the Bulls have had a good amount of success when playing Doug alongside Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic (+17.3 net rating in 265 minutes).

Still, the clock is ticking on Doug McDermott in Chicago, and he needs to step it up if he’s going to be an important member of this franchise going forward.