Devon Dotson’s Speed Has Raptors Intrigued

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The Toronto Raptors have a roster that is loaded with versatile players who can score in a myriad of different ways. They have guys who can nail pull-up 3-pointers like Kyle Lowry, players who hit catch-and-shoot jumpers like OG Anunoby, and inside scorers like Pascal Siakam who can attack defences with his dominating spin move.

It’s that kind of offensive versatility that has made the Raptors so successful without a true NBA superstar. But what Toronto doesn’t have is a player like Kansas’ Devon Dotson.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Dotson is a line-drive attacker with the kind of elite speed that allowed him to blaze past collegiate defenders with ease. He averaged a team-high 18.1 points per game last season, leading the Jayhawks to a 28-3 record and the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press’ final college hoops poll.

After Dotson entered his name in the 2019 NBA Draft, he decided to return to college for one more season. Now he’s projected to be a late first round or second round pick in this year’s draft and the Raptors — who hold the 29th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft — are interested in Dotson, having already spoken to his agent and with an interview scheduled in the coming weeks.

“I can bring a fast-paced, change the whole pace of the game, just a dynamic, quick guard that can get into the lane at will and make plays for others and myself,” Dotson said Wednesday during his pre-draft media availability. “The thing I can hang my hat on in my rookie season is on the defensive side with quickness, with my stretch, I can get an opposing guard and make life a little harder for him, make his night a little tougher.”

The biggest concern for Dotson is his 3-point shooting. He shot just 30.9% on four attempts per game last season. It’s why he’s spent much of his offseason getting up 3-pointers, trying to improve his repertoire and force opposing defenders to step up and defend him behind the line.

“Whether that’s hundreds and hundreds of reps a day and different varieties of shots, creating separation, shooting behind a screen, getting a little bit deeper and deeper behind the line,” Dotson said. “I know I can shoot right now, but if it’s to the point where it’s super consistent, I think it’s going to be very tough for defences to guard me because with my ability to get in the lane with my quickness and elite speed.”

Without that shooting, Dotson projects as a useful bench player, according to Sports Illustrated’s draft expert Jeremy Woo who has the 19-year-old ranked No. 42 on his big board.

“Dotson put together another impressive year at Kansas, but in a potentially point guard-heavy draft, his lack of size and average playmaking ability makes it a bit more likely he ends up in the second round,” Woo wrote. “He’s an exceptional finisher at the rim for a small guard and a tough defender who compensates for lack of length with quick feet and tenacity. But much of his offensive success was predicated on straight-line drives and kick-out passes, and few college players were able to contain him and keep him from getting to his right hand. That style of play will be tested against NBA defenses, and he’s not a great shooter off the dribble.”

If Dotson can sort out his 3-point shot, his upside could be enough for Toronto to bite in November’s draft.