Cleat Geeks

Bulls on Parade: Bulls Awards-Most Improved

It was an up and down season for the Bulls in 2015-16, and it’s easy to see the bad. But where was the improvement most evident?

Some might argue that Derrick Rose could be the most improved player, but a former MVP/top draft pick shouldn’t be in this conversation. Rose has been the plague of the Bulls for the past few years, struggling with injury after injury and just now having a legitimate season at PG.

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Looking at the rest of the lineup it’s easy to see that Doug McDermott has grown into a solid stretch four as things move forward in Chicago. Let’s look back at a strong second half that included one of the better slam dunks of the season.

On the year, the former Creighton standout averaged 9.4 points-per-game and just over two boards per game. That doesn’t really tell the whole story for the forward, who really stood out when it mattered most.

Injuries plagued the Bulls this season, most notably with bigs, losing Joakim Noah for the year and Taj Gibson to multiple minor injuries. As the break neared, McDermott saw increased minutes and didn’t disappoint, even in a season where wins were a premium.

In February alone, McDermott averaged 14.4 points per game, and after the All-Star break averaged over 11 points per game as the regular season ended. Wins against playoff teams were few and far between for the Bulls, but McDermott had his best outings against a playoff team in the Toronto Raptors. In two games in February and March, “Dougie Fresh” scored 30 and 29 points respectively in a pair of

Wins against playoff teams were few and far between for the Bulls, but McDermott had his best outings against a playoff team in the Toronto Raptors. In two games in February and March, “Dougie Fresh” scored 30 and 29 points respectively in a pair of important games when playoff hopes were still evident.

Looking at those last months of the regular season, McDermott was impressive, scoring 10+ points in 20 games, including five 20+ point games.

DougMcDermott3McDermott was a player that some worried about heading into the season and questioned whether he could fit into a big heavy lineup with the likes of Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, and Taj Gibson. Not to mention another stretch four like McDermott, Nikola Mirotic was a player that played extremely well the previous season but struggled down the stretch.

Moving forward into the off-season and eventually the 16-17 season, McDermott seems to be the guy the Bulls want around, especially with so much doubt as the whether Gasol or Noah will come back.

Look for Hoiberg to focus this off-season on improving McDermott’s post presence, to somewhat help him grow into that prototypical stretch four.

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