New York Knicks are missing the mark with Damyean Dotson

Damyean Dotson can’t seem to find consistent playing time with the New York Knicks. As such, New York is missing the mark with a player who could be of significant value.

The New York Knicks don’t receive praise for much these days, but there’s an intriguing skill that appears to be developing. Highlighted by the selection of center Mitchell Robinson, New York has managed to make the most of its second-round draft picks in recent years.

Unfortunately, one of the promising talents who was found in Round 2 appears to have fallen out of the rotation: Sharpshooting swingman Damyean Dotson.

Dotson was drafted during the Phil Jackson era, which has been something of a nail in the coffin for players since The Zen Master resigned in 2017. It’s most surprising when discussing Dotson, however, as all signs point towards his being a valuable presence on the court.

That much was further established when Marc Berman of The New York Post reported that three contenders have expressed interest in acquiring Dotson.

According to NBA sources, three prominent organizations — the Jazz, Bucks and Warriors — are expected to show some interest in Dotson, who made $1.6 million this season as a “3-and-D’’ prototype.

If the Milwaukee Bucks, Utah Jazz, and Golden State Warriors are interested in one of your players, there’s a good chance that their talent is worth looking into.

Dotson may not be a franchise player, but he’s showcased the ability to contribute valuable minutes. He’s one of the best shooters on the roster, as well as a capable passer and a plus defender in both individual and team settings.

As such, one can’t help but feel as though the Knicks are missing the mark by playing Dotson fewer than 18 minutes per game.

Three-Point Shooting

This past offseason, the Knicks signed veteran sharpshooters Reggie Bullock and Wayne Ellington in an attempt to improve their woeful outside percentages. New York ranked 24th in three-point field goals made and 28th in three-point field goal percentage during the 2018-19 campaign.

While the signings weren’t problematic unto themselves, they resulted in one of the few shooters who was already on the team being relegated to afterthought status: Damyean Dotson.

Dotson finished the 2018-19 season with an average of 1.7 three-point field goals made on 36.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Dotson has maintained an efficient three-point field goal percentage at 36.2 percent in 2019-20.

Even still, one can’t help but feel as though his consistency as a shooter has been stifled by the lack of opportunities to shoot, let alone play.

Dotson is averaging 1.2 three-point field goals made per game and 2.5 three-point field goals made per 36 minutes. He’s shooting 38.9 percent from distance on catch and shoot attempts, burying an average of 1.8 per 36 minutes.

Considering Dotson is four years younger than Bullock and seven years younger than Ellington, one would think that developing the player with remaining upside would be the priority.

Defensive Value

From the inception of the organization to the end of the Patrick Ewing era, the New York Knicks were a blue-collar franchise. They represented the citizens of New York City with their grit, determination, and never-say-die attitude, and won the masses over because of it.

As the Knicks have become more of white-collar franchise, the pursuit of big names has resulted in the endless stream of front office pairings ignoring the value of potential building blocks—primarily on defense.

Dotson appears to be the latest example of this unfortunate truth.

Thus far in 2019-20, the Knicks have net ratings of -5.3 with Dotson on the court and -7.0 when he isn’t. The driving force behind the Knicks being nearly two points per 100 possessions better with Dotson on the floor has been his defense.

New York boasts defensive ratings of 107.8 with Dotson and 112.9 without—a difference of 5.1 points per 100 possessions.

This isn’t necessarily stating that Dotson will mesh with anyone you place him on the court with. Instead, it goes to show that he’s found a way to contribute valuable defensive minutes when he’s seen the floor, and should at least be presented with the opportunity to prove himself with other lineups.

For what it’s worth: The five-man lineup of Frank Ntilikina, Dotson, Kevin Knox, Bobby Portis, and Mitchell Robinson ranks in the 96th percentile in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Not too shabby for a second unit.

Seeing The Bigger Picture

The odds of Damyean Dotson becoming the All-Star who revitalizes New York Knicks basketball are admittedly unfavorable. In order to truly recover from two decades of heartbreak, however, the Knicks cannot afford to skip steps.

One of the most important steps in that process is the development of role players who can make the game easier for the stars they play with.

Dotson’s style of play is exactly that of a player whom a star would love to have on the court with them. He’s an efficient catch and shoot specialist who can occasionally create for others and pull up off the bounce from midrange.

A career average of 13.9 points per 36 minutes is nothing to scoff at, nor is the fact that he averaged 10.7 points per game in 2018-19.

What makes Dotson so compelling as a role player is that his value isn’t limited to the offensive end of the floor. He’s 6’5″ with a 6’9″ wingspan, as well as a strong 210-pound frame that allows him to both contest shots and get physical against drives.

Whether it’s RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, or someone else entirely, it would behoove the Knicks to have players who can take some pressure off of those they’re attempting to build around.

Damyean Dotson has the tools to fill that role. The New York Knicks just need to let him do it.

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