The 2014 draft is chalk full of wing talent even outside the top 7 or 8 players. Teams looking for a small forward towards the end of the lottery will have many tough decisions to make. For this edition of Face Off, I break down 2014 Naismith Player of the Year, Doug McDermott, and Duke’s well rounded swingman, Rodney Hood. Both high level NCAA players bring very different skill sets to the table, but which traits will these seasoned college veterans have more success with in the NBA game?
Size and Measurements
Both McDermott and Hood have the size to play the small forward position in the NBA. Although neither one possesses top end positional stature. Both players aren’t really undersized, and for spacing situations, could probably play short stints as shooting guards.
Doug McDermott came into Chicago and measured 6‘6.5’’ barefoot and 6‘7.75’’ in shoes, and where he impressed some people was in his 6‘9.25’’ wingspan and 8’7’’ standing reach. There was a lot of intrigue around the Creighton product and fears he would be smaller and less athletic than advertised, but Doug confirmed that he has pretty solid size to play small forward in the NBA. At a lean 218 pounds, Doug also showed up in great shape, sporting only 7.1% body fat.
Rodney Hood came out as a slightly taller, measuring out at 6‘7.25’’ barefoot and 6‘8.5’’ in shoes. At 6‘8.5’’, Hood’s wingspan left a little to be desired as it measured just a shade longer than his height, but he still measured the same 8’7’’ standing reach McDermott did. Also, at 208 pounds, he definitely could stand to bulk up to handle the bigger three men who often tip the scales at over 225 pounds and in some cases, like Lebron, well over 250.
Neither prospect has elite positional size, but both should be considered adequate. While Hood is a slightly taller player, he’s smaller in just about every other measurement. Having a big wingspan and being able body up on an opponent are qualities that are needed in the pro game, and with a dead even standing reach, McDermott has the length advantage and a stronger frame.
Edge – McDermott
Prior to the NBA Draft Combine, by eye test alone this seemed like a pretty open and shut case with Hood arising the victor, but Doug McDermott came in to Chicago and really raised some eyebrows.
Doug, who has over the last four years, been described as un-athletic, slow, or sporting a phone book vertical, proved all his nay sayers wrong by registering an impressive, and well above average 36.5’’ max vertical leap. His 28.5’’ standing vertical was solid, as were his 11.1 second agility drill time, and his 3.29 second 3/4 sprint. McDermott isn’t on the same level as many of the elite guys this year, but slow and heavy footed, he is not.
Rodney Hood has the reputation as a solid, well rounded athlete, and confirmed just that last month. His 29’’ standing vert and 36’’ max vert were about dead even with McDermott, and his 11.28 second agility drill, and 3.38 second 3/4 court sprint were just a shade behind the 2014 Naismith winner. Hood also has a quick second jump, which helped him defensively over the course of last season, and is a much quicker jumper than McDermott.
With their verticals almost identical, McDermott tested out a shade faster than Hood, although his game doesn’t really take full advantage of his athletic ability. Hood is a similar leaper in the height both players can achieve, but he’s much more explosive, and capable of quicker consecutive jumps. His on court lateral quickness does trump a day of drills in my mind, and in a shockingly close category I feel both swingmen are pretty close. Hood’s body of work on the court provide enough direct, court translatable evidence to declare him the more athletic player, although McDermott is clearly a much better athlete than often advertised.
Edge – Hood
With one of the players being evaluated ranking 5th all time in NCAA career points, with a whopping 3,150, it may appear like another open and shut case, but Rodney Hood is a dead eye long range shooter with a well rounded offensive package. The Duke sophomore’s 71 three pointers this year, actually beat McDermott’s sophomore total of 54, although this season he hit 96. Each player has some very translatable skills, with shooting a common one, but as very different players, there’s a lot of factors to account for.
Doug McDermott 13-14 NCAA stats – 35 gp 26.7 ppg .526% FG .449% 3PT .864% FT 1.6 apg
The nation’s leading scorer this season, Doug McDermott’s 26.7 points per game cemented his offensive prowess as Creighton departed from the Missouri Valley Conference, and joined the Big East. His transition was seamless, and against bigger, faster, players on a day in and day out basis during the conference season he actually scored at a more fervent and efficient pace.
Doug McDermott – Big East stats – 18 gp 27.7 ppg .541% FG .463% 3PT .838% FT 1.8 apg
McDermott clearly hangs his hat on shooting ability, but his skill and understanding of the game made him a very effective post player, who’s low post moves were light years ahead of just about every college big man this season. McBuckets, as he’s often called, showed a tendency to get hot from downtown as he nailed five or more three pointers, 9 times this season. His shot selection is superb. Even the best players are due for a bad game every now and then, but Doug McDermott only tallied three games all season in which he shot under 40% from the field, and was only held to single digits once.
McDermott also topped 30 points thirteen times, including an eye popping streak in Big East play where he went for 45, 35, and 32 in consecutive games. It’s often been said that a corner 3 pointer is like a layup for the nation’s top senior prospect. The ability to shoot is one of the most NBA translatable skills, and near unlimited range would prove a valuable asset for any team’s spacing. He also shot a solid 40.1% on two point jumpers, and a nice 68.5% clip at the rim. His low post moves will not be as effective against NBA competition, but in instances where Doug plays shooting guard, it could come in handy. McDermott’s ability to shoot coming off screens is also a part of his game that he is pretty good at right now, but I feel to reach his potential in the NBA he’ll need to continue to work on improving.
Doug is a pretty solid ball handler, but he often struggles to create space for himself in one on one situations when guarded by big long players. One of his most difficult games this season, Creighton’s loss to Baylor in the NCAA tournament, he was held to only 15 points by the Bears’ long, athletic, and physical front line. His shooting ability will allow him to get points from day one, and he’s the type of player who’s offensive intelligence will allow him to flourish even when he’s not his team’s number one option. The question is just what kind of role he’ll play. Doug has the potential to be a starter, but he could also fit well in a 2nd unit providing offense as a high level 6th man. Although his role is very team dependent, his Bball IQ is probably the highest of any player in this class, and his shot is good enough to put him amongst the league leaders in 3 point percentage as a rookie.
Rodney Hood 13-14 NCAA Stats – 35 gp 16.1 ppg .464% FG .420% 3PT .807% FT 2.1 apg
Rodney Hood is another high level shooter, who not only is a volume marksman from deep, but an efficient scorer. Even playing as a number two option behind likely top 2 pick, Jabari Parker, Hood topped 20 points nine times, with a season high 30 against East Carolina. The Duke swingman went for back to back 27 point games against Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. Rodney has a nice solid handle, a quick first step, rarely forces the issue and is a better distributer than McDermott. His conference stats were par with his season stats, as he proved to be a steady scorer all season. His ability to play off a college star will also ease his transition to an NBA team.
Rodney Hood ACC Stats – 18 gp 16 ppg .451% FG .423% 3PT .80% FT 2.0 apg
Hood’s mid range game is a great compliment to his 3 point shot. He shot 42.4% of his two point jump shots this season, and many of his mid range shots were set up off the dribble. His 64.1% field goal percentage at the rim is also a pretty good clip for a guy with his slight frame. Rodney will certainly have to hit the weights to maintain a high field goal clip at the rim in the NBA.
Rodney’s .421% 3 point mark also ranked 3rd in the ACC this past season and he has the range to be an effective shooter behind the deeper NBA line. The former Blue Devil didn’t really play the role of a playmaker, but Hood still tallied five games with 4 or more assists, and is a low turnover and low mistake player to boot.
Hood could stand to use his handle and quick first step more often. He is a good mid range shooter, but often settles for jump shots when he could have pushed it and gotten a better shot. Rodney’s temperament isn’t an assertive one, and can be prone to disappear. He is a high level shooter, which will absolutely translate to the NBA and his well balanced skill set gives him some potential as a slasher and distributer, but he has some work to put in to get there. Hood can come into the league and shoot right away, but from an offensive standpoint he needs to continue to hone his floor game. Hood has starter potential as well, but his tendencies to disappear could limit his opportunity and growth as a player.
While Hood has a nice foundation, and is a really good shooter, McDermott’s understanding of the game and even better long range shot gives him the slight edge. He’s not quite as versatile as Hood creating off the dribble, but his court smarts and elite 3 point range give McBuckets the edge.
Edge – McDermott
On the defensive end of the ball, both players have completely different styles. As collegiate athlete’s Hood acted almost exclusively as a perimeter defender, while McDermott was often used down in the post, in part to minimize his lack of lateral speed.
The defensive end of the ball is easily the weakest part of Doug McDermott’s game. Even with some nice athletic testing, he just doesn’t have the overall resume to predict he’ll be a good NBA defender. To his credit, he is a scrappy player, who isn’t afraid to get physical, but at best he seems to be a guy who can be hidden in a good team defensive scheme.
As a four year college starter, he tallied only 34 steals and 14 blocked shots on his career. Rodney Hood blocked 14 shots in his freshman year at Mississippi State, and he’s not even a high level shot blocker. Doug isn’t quite as bad a defender as his stats would indicate, and he is a pretty solid defensive rebounder, but at an NBA level the question as to whether he’ll be able to handle anyone on the perimeter is a valid one.
Rodney Hood is a player who was a pretty solid defender all year for Duke. Like McDermott, he also isn’t a stat stuffer on defense, but his .7 steals per game and .3 blocks were at least around an average level for his position. During the ACC season he did raise his presence as a ball thief by stealing the rock 14 times in 18 games.
Hood is a player who has the quickness and natural ability to translate to the next level, but like his offensive game, he can be prone to lapses of focus. This is a side of the ball where Hood’s continued strength training will only help him out. Rodney doesn’t have the girth at this point of his career to provide a physical presence. Still, Hood does have a fair amount of defensive potential. He’s shown flashes, and has a pretty good foundation in place, whether he reaches his defensive potential will really come down to mental issues and continued growth as a player. Even the level at he his now projects better than a best case scenario for McDermott.
Edge – Hood
Intangibles\Clutch Play Making
Rodney Hood is a smart player can do a little bit of everything. His awareness on the court is pretty solid, and has been known to come up with a big play. As a lefty he can also be a bit of an adjustment for his opponent. Hood hit big shots this year, and nailed the eventual game winning free throw against East Carolina, to cap off his season high 30 point performance.
Doug McDermott’s understanding of the game is beyond his years, and he’s one of the oldest players in this class. As a high volume scorer, he still doesn’t force the issue when struggling and his acknowledgment of his talents and where he needs to be on the court will only help him in the pros. Doug has hit his share of big shots over the years, but his game winning 3 against St. Johns not only capped a 39 point game, but since the shot was 25 feet away from the basket, it was just another reminder of his NBA ready range.
Edge – McDermott
Doug McDermott gains the edge on size, offensive ability and intangibles to eek out a victory over Rodney Hood. Hood has better athleticism and took the defensive ability category, but McDermott’s court IQ is the real deciding factor as both players were dead even coming through the first four categories.
Rodney Hood is an extremely well rounded prospect, who has a direct role in the NBA and the three point range to contribute as a marksmen early into his career. Although not particularly long, he’s tall, athletic, and in a few years could probably fill out his slight frame to the tune of around 225 pounds. He’s prone to mental lapses on both sides of the ball and needs to work on his attentiveness, but a 6’8’’, two way wing with a great jump shot makes Hood a very good prospect in his own right, and one who could be a starter for a long time in the NBA.
Doug McDermott projects as a specialist. While not having much potential as a defender, he has an elite jump shot, and can provide floor spacing the first game of his rookie season. The son of a coach, Doug’s familiarity and understanding of the game of basketball will not only help him take advantage of offensive sets, but help him hide his defensive short comings. While he has some room to improve as a screen shooter, I feel his hardwood smarts will allow him to grow in that area. Doug’s role could range from a starter, to a high volume scoring style 6th man, like J.R. Smith, but with so many players making a living on elite shooting these days, Dougie McBuckets looks to join that list of elite specialists.
Follow David on twitter @DR_NBADraft