It’s always fun to go down the NBA draft list a year later and say this guy was a hit and this guy was a miss.
For Philadelphia 76ers‘ GM Sam Hinkie that little exercise probably won’t be a whole lot of fun in about 12 months given what could happen. For sake of argument, what happens if Doug McDermott becomes NBA Rookie of the Year on the way to a spectacular career, ala Larry Bird?
Don’t laugh. It could happen.
Bird turned into one of the NBA all-time greats after graduating from Indiana State, a school that never faced the kind of competition Creighton faced during McDermott’s senior season. Against Big East competition, McDermott averaged 26.7 points per game and added 7.5 rebounds per game. Bird’s final season was 1978-79 when he averaged 28.6 points a game and 7.8 rebounds against more suspect competition.
You don’t know and I don’t know and even Hinkie doesn’t know that McDermott turns into Larry Bird, but this we do know: If McDermott scores 20 points a game, plays relatively good defense and contributes to a winning season for the team he was drafted by (Denver Nuggets - No. 11 overall) the second-guessing of Hinkie’s draft acumen will begin.
The Sixers had the third and tenth pick and ended with a couple of guys in Joel Embiid and Dario Saric, who probably will not even play in the upcoming season.
McDermott could end up having the same kind of impact in the NBA that Larry Bird did or he turn out to be the next Kyle Korver. If he’s a lot closer to Bird than Korver, the Sixers will have made a colossal mistake passing on him at No. 10.
We will not know if McDermott becomes an all-time great until several years down the road, but at least in 12 months we should have a better clue in what direction he’s headed.