Jayhawk Breakdown: NBA scout sizes up Devon Dotson's pro prospects
We’re now a week into May, and that means it’s draft season for the folks in the NBA and dozens of draft hopefuls who will spend the next several weeks working to impress that one NBA scout, coach or GM just enough to get a shot at a pro career.
It won’t happen for all of them, of course. And several of them will return to college next season, a move that has become even easier to make under new rules that allow players to test the waters with help from an agent while maintaining their college eligibility.
With the NBA’s pre-draft combine slated for May 14-19 in Chicago, and a new G League prospect combine on the books for May 12-14 in the Windy City, the next few weeks will be key for all kinds of college players hoping to turn pro.
Included on that list, of course, are four Jayhawks — Dedric Lawson, Quentin Grimes, Devon Dotson and Silvio De Sousa — and several other notable names.
With that in mind, I recently caught up with an NBA scout who works for a team in the Eastern Conference to discuss his franchise’s breakdown of those four Jayhawks and their chances in the June 20 draft in New York City.
The scout shared the information on the condition that neither he nor the team would be identified so he could provide a thorough look at strengths, weaknesses, areas each player needs to work on most and their outlook for the next couple of months.
Former Kansas guard Lagerald Vick was in Charlotte, N.C., last week and Atlanta on Wednesday, participating in a pre-draft workout with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta also announced it was bringing in De Sousa and Grimes for individual workouts on Thursday, but, according to a Tweet from the Hawks, only Grimes participated.
In the past week, we took a look at the scout’s breakdown of All-American junior Dedric Lawson as well as his read on Grimes and today, we move on to freshman point guard Devon Dotson, who declared for the draft while making it crystal clear that he would do everything necessary to retain his college eligibility at the same time.
Dotson’s father, Dana Dotson, called his son’s desire to test his draft stock “an information-seeking quest” and the expectation by most involved with the process is that Dotson will be back at Kansas for his sophomore season.
With that in mind, here’s a look at what the scout thinks of Dotson’s standing if he were to stay in the 2019 draft.
The scout’s franchise has Dotson slated in the 30-45 range of the current draft and a recent 2020 mock draft I saw had Dotson pencilled into the No. 29 spot, the second-to-last pick in the first round.
Time will tell if he improves on that standing — whether it’s this year or next — but, for now, here’s a look at the current breakdown.
• His first entry in his scouting report needed just five letters and all caps: QUICK.
• Good scorer off the dribble. You want this kid getting downhill and using his speed and quicks. Really fast first step and gets going downhill. Really good finisher around the rim.
• He’s becoming a better shooter. He seems to have spent a lot of time in the gym this season refining his jumper.
• Really good athlete who is super light on his feet.
• Understands angles and how to approach different matchups. Comfortable chasing specialists and locking down his matchup on the ball.
Now let’s move to the areas that have Dotson slated by most as a second-round pick at best.
• Needs to keep working on his jumper.
• Needs to get better taking care of the ball. He is so fast and because of this can get going in a wild manner that can lead to turnovers and bad passes.
• He can get to the rim whenever he wants but will his lack of size create problems when he has to finish over bigger, taller bodies?
• Limited to who he can guard because of his size.
• Needs to add strength to be able to withstand the grind of our league.
• Foul prone because he takes ticky-tack chances. Needs to be better with his hands.
There’s little doubt that Dotson’s professional future is as a true point guard, both because of his size and play-making ability.
So a big part of what the NBA guys want to see next week and in the future is just how ready Dotson is to truly run the show, both as a primary ball handler and a pass-first point guard who can set up his teammates for easy buckets.
The scout said there were enough moments during Dotson’s freshman season where he showed the ability to do all of those things. But he added that they still aren’t quite fully developed.
“This is all a work in progress,” the scout said. “But coming from being a combo guard with a chance at being a true point guard, he showed some really good stuff.”