Entering into the 2018-19 season as one of many guards in a crowded New York Knicks backcourt, Damyean Dotson’s impressive season set him apart as a potential building block for the franchise going forward.
Entering the 2018-19 season, the New York Knicks backcourt was perhaps the area with the most questions: who would improve? Who would perform? Who would establish themselves as a starter? Looking ahead into next season, Damyean Dotson has answered all those questions and some.
Drafted in the second round in the 2017 draft, Dotson played primarily as a defender and spot-up shooter off the bench in the 2017-18 campaign, seeing limited minutes behind guards like Jarrett Jack, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee.
However, Coach David Fizdale apparently challenged Dotson to establish himself as more of a scoring presence in the 2018-19 season and Dotson delivered on that call to action.
After initially starting the season with Mario Hezonja at the shooting guard position, Coach Fizdale put Dotson into the starting lineup against the Golden State Warriors, coming off the back of his 20 point and 10 rebound performance against the Miami Heat in the previous game.
Dotson would go on to start 40 of the remaining 77 games of the season, the second most starts out of any of the Knicks guards behind Emmanuel Mudiay. Comparing the “breakout year” of Emmanuel Mudiay to the year of Damyean Dotson this past season, it was refreshing to see marked improvement come out of the Knicks backcourt from an unlikely player.
In his second season, Dotson managed to increase his averages across all categories while maintaining a similar level of consistency shooting from the field compared to his rookie season, even increasing his 3-point percentage on more attempts per game (36.8 percent vs. 32.4per cent).
On the defensive end of the ball, Dotson was effective as a transition defender, most notably limiting opponents to 9.9 points off of turnovers and 6.9 fastbreak points in transition.
However, this season for Dotson was not without its splotches. For every game where he scored 15-plus points, there was one where he notched less than 10. Dotson showed this past season that he is certainly a streak shooter, and while it is always nice to see a shooter unafraid to work his way out of a slump, consistency from spot-up options is key to winning teams in the modern NBA.
Though as Coach Fizdale noted in February to the New York Post’s Greg Joyce, Dotson’s game certainly shows promise, and the reason why Dotson kept finding his way into the starting lineup over options like Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier and Mario Hezonja, was his versatility.
"“…He’s tough, he rebounds, and he can really shoot the ball…And he plays with an incredible pace. That’s why I really like him. He doesn’t need the ball a lot to score. That’s the good part about those catch-and-shoot guys, like Golden State’s got Klay [Thompson]… I just feel we can grow Dot into something like that.”"
Though he’s got a long way to go before reaching Klay Thompson levels of production, comparisons of that caliber show just what an impact and improvement Damyean Dotson made in the 2018-19 season.