Doug McDermott has been terrific since he joined the Mavericks. Against Memphis, he had his first 20-point game and threw in seven rebounds as well. At the time of this writing, he’s averaging more than 13 points and 4.5 boards in the month of March. It’s a sign of how the season has gone, perhaps, but it’s still true: those numbers would be third and fifth on the team, respectively, over the course of this season.
To get the obvious out of the way first, there are clear ways in which McDermott’s performance is unsustainable. During this month he’s shooting 50 percent from the floor, 72.7 percent from three-point range and 91.7 percent from the line. That’s not him. He’s a good shooter, but his career averages are 45.1 percent from the floor, 40.2 percent from three, and 82 percent from the line – mortal numbers.
On the other hand, in terms of raw production, he has never gotten an opportunity like he’s getting now and could quite reasonably stand to get even more. The most he’s ever played was in his 44 games as a Bull in 2016-2017, where he averaged 10 points and three rebounds in 24.5 minutes a game, about what he’s getting with the Mavericks. That certainly suggests he’s capable of 13-and-4.5 in starter’s minutes, or even more – his per-36 numbers as a Mav so far are 15.8 points and 4.4 rebounds.
LINK: Doug McDermott stats
Plus, anyone who’s watching the games can tell you that he’s a fit for Carlisle’s schemes, and in a lot of ways a modern player. Right now he’s shooting 23.5 percent of his shots at the rim and 47.1 percent of his shots from three, which are modern percentages. He’s a smart player who seems to know where to be, and I’ve even seen some nice assists from him. At present, as a Mav, he has a terrific net rating, which is a measure of how many points the Mavericks score, on average, in 100 possessions with him on the floor, minus how many the other team scores in the same amount: he’s +12 and the Mavs are at 124 points per 100 with him out there.
It is pretty much impossible to predict what the Mavericks will look like next year because they so rarely do anything that seems obvious in free agency. The number of extensions they’ve handed out over the last five years is very low, especially if your name isn’t J.J. Barea. This offseason, McDermott would seem to be one of their more intriguing problems, along with Seth Curry, and maybe even Nerlens Noel.
McDermott will be a restricted free agent, while Curry is an unrestricted one, which means the Mavs will have a chance to match any offer, but I really have no idea how much he’ll command on the market or how much the Mavs will be willing to pay. The same goes for Seth, who has followed up his breakout season with one where he didn’t play.
Overall, though, I would guess that a starting lineup, next season, of Dennis Smith, Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes, Dirk, and someone, with Wes Matthews and Doug McDermott on the bench - or sometimes in the starting lineup with Barnes at the four and Dirk at the five – could be really impressive, offensively. Between Smith’s ability to drive, and the outside shooting of Curry, Dirk, Matthews, and McDermott, that’s a hard team to cover, and in Carlisle’s schemes could be deadly. But, the smart thing to do with the Mavs is to not get attached to impending free agents, and that’s probably how to feel here too.