Last Summer, the San Antonio Spurs signed veteran sharpshooter Doug McDermott in hopes the three-point shooting savvy vet would provide a much needed shooting boost for the silver and black while at the same time benefit the Spurs young locker room with his leadership.
Personally, I was hyped. So much so that McDermott’s number 17 was my no brainer choice when it came time to purchase last season’s city edition uniform. So, naturally, I was a bit concerned when rumblings of a possible trade involving McDermott came to light as of recent. I have never had to stop wearing a jersey due to a player trade--ever.
Should I, along with every other proud owner of that slick looking, icy white city edition masterpiece prepare to let it go? Is it doomed to collect dust in the back of a dark closet? Unwelcoming thoughts, I know.
What was Doug McDermott's impact on the Spurs last season?
After one season, not much has changed for the Spurs from the day they acquired Doug. The franchise still is missing a consistent solid three-point shooting threat, and with this year’s club being even younger that last season, leadership from a seasoned NBA vet seems more critical now than ever.
Last season, when McDermott was healthy and played, he produced. He was a clear leader, and his range from downtown was consistently put on display, backing up the claim that he still had the touch from beyond the arc. Through 51 games last season, he shot 42% from the three-point line on 5 attempts per game.
On the flip side of that coin, in the 23 games Dougie McBuckets missed last season, the Spurs felt the negative effects. Even if it didn’t seem like someone or something was missing during those games without the sharpshooter, hindsight shows there most definitely was. The record during those contests was considerably worse, and the overall energy of the ballclub was noticeably different without number 17 on the court.
In April & May alone San Antonio went a dismal 2-13. And as we all know, those months are crucial in the world of the NBA-- "crunch time," if you will. Despite McDermott’s absence, though, the Spurs still managed to make the play in game. The franchise was competitive enough to put together a solid playoff push down the stretch to at least make things interesting.
That said, would things have been different if San Antonio had Doug during those crucial games? Perhaps the organization wins enough games to bypass the play in, lock up an 8 seed and beat the 1st-seeded Suns in a thrilling seven game series in route to a second-round appearance.
...ok, that's a bit of a stretch. After all, I'm a dreamer and glass half full type of guy.
Doug McDermott is far more valuable than his stats suggest
In reality, would Doug McDermott really have made that big of a difference at the end of last season? I think the answer to that is clearly yes and that his three-point shooting ability and invaluable leadership qualities would have turned several of those losses into key wins. The bottom line is simple. Doug McDermott makes a difference, and he does it quietly and humbly. He's a player that largely acts behind the scenes, so much so that the same fans that wondered why the Spurs finished the way they did last Spring also may not have noticed his absence.
Am I saying those critical losses were all due to Doug McDermott’s season being cut short in late March? No, I am not. But did it play a substantial role in the outcomes of those late season games with such importance riding on them? Yes, absolutely.
I harp on last season so much here because it is important to understand why the Spurs positively cannot trade number 17. As a matter of fact, if you're asking me, they shouldn’t even consider it. Doug McDermott is even more valuable to the Silver and Black this season than last. He is key in providing leadership to not only the newest young bucks now calling the 210 home, but also to our future franchise pillars in Keldon Johnson and Joshua Primo.
And in a season which is sure to be unlike any other, he will at the very least provide some long ball entertainment for a club who, regretfully, is slated to tank unlike any team has tanked before. I'm holding on to my number 17 city edition jersey, and I suggest you do the same.