LAS VEGAS — Despite being a rookie, Bulls’ first-round draft pick Doug McDermott is already a veteran of USA Basketball, having played twice in his summers while at Creighton, including last year, when he worked out with the Select Team during its mini-camp, one of only two college players to do so.
The sharpshooting forward was selected to be on this year’s edition of the Select Team, coached by Northwestern head coach Chris Collins, and coming off not only his record-setting college career, but a first-team all-NBA Summer League outing, he was a marked man in the portion of Tuesday’s practice the media was allowed to view. In the five-on-five scrimmages, defenders stayed glued to McDermott, something he’s dealt with since his college days.
But McDermott, who plans to attend the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program next weekend, then return to Chicago shortly thereafter to work out prior to Bulls training camp, has enjoyed the experience.
“Oh, it’s been great. Just going against some of the best guys in the world. It’s definitely a challenge, but it can only help a guy like me, who’s just getting his NBA career started,” McDermott explained. “Yeah, it’s a little different now that I’m up in the NBA now. Obviously there’s a lot of good players here, so it’s hard at times. But it’s definitely helpful.”
McDermott, who said he feels “100 percent” after missing the Bulls’ final summer-league game with a left-foot injury, claimed he’s been unfazed by trade rumors circulating that he could be dealt to Minnesota in a package that would bring All-Star power forward Kevin Love to Chicago.
“I didn’t really pay attention to it much. I think rumors happen a lot. There’s been a lot this offseason. So you’ve just got to stay patient. You can’t really read into that stuff. I’m just focused on what I can do to become better,” he said. “To be honest, I get asked about it. I don’t really ask anyone. I try to stay off Twitter and I think a lot of people ask me or text me through my friends. But I just ignore it. Whatever happens, happens.”
Of course, McDermott shared his take on how his new teammate, Derrick Rose, has looked in the sessions.
“Yeah, he’s looked really good. He’s one of the best players here and he’s definitely showed that the last couple days, so it’s great to see obviously,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier because he draws so much attention. He’s an unselfish guy to play with and he’s going to find you. He makes some really good decisions with the ball.”