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INDIANAPOLIS – When that call came to Doug McDermott, very early in free agency, he knew it was a place for him.
Kevin Pritchard made it crystal clear that the Pacers needed to add shooting this offseason.
By the metrics, it was going to be different to find anyone who can knock down perimeter shots like McDermott.
Pritchard points out that McDermott’s catch and shoot ability last season was in the 96 percentile, with the 26-year-old forward knocking home 42.6 percent of his three pointers.
“That’s elite,” Pritchard says. “That’s not good. That’s not great. That’s elite.”
Catch and shoot is exactly what the Pacers will ask McDermott to do in their second unit.
With Tyreke Evans being the primary creator and attacking downhill off the bench, McDermott’s eyes should be nice and wide at the shooting opportunities coming his way.
Do not expect McDermott to bang home threes off the dribble. All 92 of his three pointers last season came off assists.
But the Pacers think McDermott’s ability to properly space the floor isn’t solely because of his shooting prowess.
“In Doug’s case, we were looking for elite shooting, but we were also impressed with how he moves without the ball,” Pritchard says. “He’s a great spacer.”
That is the strength of McDermott, who isn’t known for his exceptional defense or his driving skill.
From afar, McDermott was a fan of what he saw out of last year’s Pacers.
“The culture (was a big thing),” McDermott said of his decision. “Watching this team in the playoffs, you kind of just wanted to be part of it, watching it. It looks like all the guys get along playing with each other. Having played with Vic and Domas briefly in OKC, just knowing what type of guys they are, I just wanted to be a part of it.”
McDermott, who has been on 5 teams now in the NBA, said the Pacers were the first team he’s been on where the vast majority of the roster reached out to him after being acquired.
The Creighton product grew up a Pacers/Reggie Miller fan and now returns to the Midwest, where his NBA career began with the Bulls, after Chicago traded for the 14th overall pick on draft night in 2014.
In Indiana, McDermott thinks his game will benefit from playing alongside Evans in the second unit.
“I think both of us can play really well off each other,” the sharp shooter says. “I think I can space the floor for not only Tyreke, but Vic and a lot of these other guys that are great playmakers. I think a lot of them can benefit off me, but I can also benefit off them with the way they put pressure on the defense.
“I think that will get me a lot of good, open looks.”
And now Nate McMillan is happy he won’t have to see those three pointers go in against him.
McMillan calls his new reserve wing a ‘laser’ from long distance.
“Anytime he receives the ball, you think it’s going in,” the head coach says.
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