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Get to know your new Spur: Doug McDermott

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Getting to know your 2021 free agents.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Indiana Pacers Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Based on the overflow of contracts the San Antonio Spurs are set to take on thanks to the most wild few days of free agency fans have seen in quite some time (if ever), it’s hard to know exactly who among the new names will actually be donning the Silver and Black next season. One name we can assume is safe is Doug McDermott — a.k.a. Dougie McBuckets — who agreed to a three-year, $42 million deal with the Spurs shortly after the negotiating period began on August 2.

Even though he can’t sign a contract until August 6, the safe assumption that he will be a Spur not only stems from the fact they reached a free agency agreement (as opposed to being an expiring contract the Spurs are taking on in a trade), but it’s also a pretty safe bet that he won’t pull a Marcus Morris, and that’s in large part because he has always wanted to be a Spur. He said as much after leading Creighton to a second round victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in the 2014 NCAA Tournament in San Antonio.

McDermott grew up in a basketball family. He was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota while his father, current Creighton men’s head coach Greg McDermott, was an assistant coach for the University of North Dakota. Doug would go on to play high school ball in Ames, Iowa while Greg was head coach at Iowa State, where he starred alongside Harrison Barnes. Together, they led Ames High School to consecutive state championships their junior and senior years.

Young McDermott originally signed a National Letter of Intent to play for Northern Iowa before switching to Creighton to follow his father, who had just been hired as head coach, in 2010. He had a storied college career, earning honors every year, but none so much as his senior season, interestingly enough which he played as a walk-on after relinquishing his scholarship due to the NCAA granting Grant Gibbs a sixth year of eligibility, putting Creighton over the limit of 13 scholarships for the 2013–14 season.

Despite being a “walk-on”, McDermott led the nation with an average of 26.7 points per game and was named first-team All-Big East, Big East Player of the Year, First-Team All-American, and was the consensus National Player of the Year. He left his name in the record books by being the first player since Patrick Ewing to be named to the an AP All-American team three times and is one of just three players in NCAA men’s basketball history to record 3,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. He also set an NCAA record by scoring in double figures 135 times.

It goes without saying that his NBA career hasn’t been quite that storied, but he has still been a very solid player. Drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Bulls, he got off to a rocky start his rookie season before suffering a knee injury and never looked the same after returning to action nearly two months later. His second season went much better, when he averaged 9.4 points and shot 42.5% from three off the bench, but by his third season he was traded to the Thunder. He then split the 2017-18 season between New York and Dallas while continuing to be little more than a solid bench contributor before seemingly finding a home with the Indiana Pacers for the last three seasons.

There, his scoring improved every season before averaging a career-high 13.6 points on 53.2% shooting last season, although his three-point shooting dipped to 38.8%, his lowest since his time in Chicago. Still, that’s much better than any returning Spurs shot last season, so his skillset will be a welcome addition to the club, especially if he averages back to his career average of 40.7% from three.

In the end, McDermott is not the big star that will move the needle for a Spurs franchise that is currently in flux (and clearly kicking the can to next summer when the free agent market should be much deeper with current or potential stars), but he fills a positional need as a three-point shooting wing who will be useful regardless of who is surrounding him on the court.

Besides, at this point, what Spurs fan wouldn’t want a player who’s dream has always been to play for their team?