(“The Gallery” is an end-of-season series featuring one uniquely titled picture or video installation for every player that best summarizes or encapsulates that player’s season in a single snapshot. These aren’t highlights, they’re seminal moments expressed through the medium of art placards. Enjoy your tour!)
Wing, Age 27
The Invisible Man
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Aside from his late-season, dribble hand-off chemistry with Domantas Sabonis (who, by the way, assisted a team-high 27 percent of the sharpshooter’s field goals), Doug McDermott’s The Invisible Man offers an elementary primer into how he so frequently faded into the background of the offense, despite being signed to a three-year, $22 million contract to improve the team’s floor spacing.
Logging 15 games with no more than one (yes, one) three-point attempt, the 26-year-old wing (7.3 PTS, 2.7 3PA, 49-40-83 shooting splits) fell victim to a number of factors, including the enduring memory captured in this piece of seeing him all too often flailing his arms around in the corner like a wacky inflatable tube guy in a used car lot while laboring in vain just to be seen. To be fair, with all 84 of his 84 made threes having been assisted, his depressed shot volume was also at times self-inflicted, a product of passing out of shots that would require him to create space for himself when defenses prevented him from cutting backdoor or crowded him coming off screens.
Such was the case against Boston, when switching tactics mixed with denied passing angles on one end of the floor and targeted assaults on the other effectively dusted him off the court and ultimately culminated in Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic being overextended, as their understudy finished the series 2-of-10 from the field without a made three, nor a single minute of action logged in Game 4.
Tellingly, both makes were assisted by the connection he forged with Sabonis, including a beauty wherein the Lithuanian big man passed him open for a cutting layup.
Opting to instead attempt to steal minutes with three-guard lineups in a closeout game against a team littered with versatile wings, the Pacers either need to find more effective ways for their backup small forward to stay on the floor in Year 2, or they need to set themselves up with better contingency plans for those match-ups that threaten to render him invisible.