The USA Select Team is the jolt Doug McDermott needs this offseason

Doug McDermott has shown flashes of his potential to be an extremely productive NBA player. One thing that shines through when McDermott struggles is his lack of confidence. His inability to defend also has been a glaring weakness. The 24-year-old just received an invitation that will help him improve in both departments. He will join USA Basketball’s Select Team in July, for the second time in as many summers.

McDermott earned his previous time with USA Basketball based on his amazing collegiate career. Now, after an up-and-down season with the Bulls, this vote of confidence is just what he needed.

USA Basketball announced the 25-member Select Team today. It features a talented group of young NBA players, as well as some college players who will be drafted soon. McDermott and the other members of the Select Team will participate alongside the Men’s National Team as they prepare for Rio 2016.

The USA Select Team will be coached by Gregg Popovich. The no-nonsense coach and the ultra competitive workouts in Las Vegas will help McDermott understand he has the potential to hang with the elite players in the NBA.

Doug McDermott durring USA Basketball Men's Select Team practicein July of 2014 - Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein

Doug McDermott during USA Basketball Men’s Select Team practice in July of 2014 – Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein

McDermott’s first year in Chicago was shortened by a knee injury. He was later deemed almost unplayable by Tom Thibodeau, because of his inability to defend. His second season with the Bulls was still inconsistent. But he showed stretches of offensive brilliance, as well as a greater ability to defend.

His ability to consistently stretch the floor for the Bulls will be key, if they hope to have a quick turnaround. He is a gifted scorer, whose size and quick release from 3-point range makes him practically unguardable from that distance. When McDermott is able to shoot at a relatively high percentage, it helps to unlock the rest of his offensive arsenal.

McDermott’s defense has been below average, and even at 6-foot-8 he does not rebound very effectively. He knows he must improve in both categories this offseason. The Select Team will offer McDermott a chance to guard some of the best players in the world. He will also see the effort which is required in order to make winning plays away from the ball.

There are not many third or fourth-options who are capable of scoring like McDermott. But if he wants to play more minutes at a higher level next season he must have the confidence to know he belongs, at both ends of the floor.

Playing a small role in USA Basketball this summer should help McDermott improve the two things holding him back: confidence and defense. The Select Team camp only lasts four days, but it could prove to be a vital boost for the talented small forward heading into his pivotal third season.

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