Douglas’ initial season with the Knicks was filled with ups and downs. His NBA career started on a sour note, as some New Yorkers were upset that in a point guard rich draft, the team failed to fill its void with either Brandon Jennings or Ty Lawson. Following the draft, Douglas had a poor showing in summer league, shooting a feeble 28.8% eFG%. However at the start of the season, he played well enough to make the rotation. In mid-November on the heels of a 21 point outburst off the bench, D’Antoni made him the starting shooting guard. The Knick rookie played well enough, dropping 23 in a loss against the Hawks.
And that’s when things took another downturn for Douglas. The next night he would come off the bench, and following that his minutes would begin to fluctuate. He started on November 18th, but only managed 12 minutes of court time. By then Larry Hughes was on a shooting streak, and D’Antoni would stick with his hot hand playing the veteran over the rookie. Even when Hughes crawled into the coach’s doghouse in mid-December, Douglas would find court time sporadically. It wouldn’t be until early March that D’Antoni would awaken Douglas from his winter hibernation and allow him to see regular action again. From March 12th until the end of the regular season, he played 25+ minutes in every game save for two.
Perhaps what surprised me most about Douglas’ 2010 season was his efficient scoring (57.1% TS%); prior to the start of the season I envisioned him having a TS% under 50%. However I remain curious if he can keep this efficiency so high. Douglas didn’t earn a lot of trips to the free throw line and shooting percentage is volatile season to season. To his credit an overwhelming majority of his shots (73.4% according to HoopData) come either from downtown or point blank. Perhaps his scoring competency relies more on his ability to take intelligent shots.
Although his shooting might be suspect going into next year, his vigorous defense isn’t likely to wane. Douglas remains vivacious on defense, continually moving his feet. He’s a threat in the passing lanes and plays good ball denial as well. Another area where his physical ability and his intelligence make him an asset to the team.
Report Card (5 point scale):
Final Grade: A-
It’s good that great players like Reggie Miller and Chris Mullin appear on this list, but Douglas sees himself as a point guard not scoring guard. It’s no secret that D’Antoni has a disdain of playing combo guards at the point. Douglas would be wise to work on his passing skills this offseason.
The silverlining on his comparables is the guy at the top of the list: Leandro Barbosa. The Brazillian Blur thrived under D’Antoni in Phoenix, so perhaps Douglas is playing for the right coach. Barbosa did increase the number of free throw attempts and points per minute as he progressed, so that is another barometer on Douglas’ development.
Between Barbosa and Gamble, it appears that Douglas ceiling in the NBA is as a reserve guard. Perhaps his defense, coupled with a strong playmaker at another position (ahem LeBron) could make him starting material.