New York Knicks Damyean Dotson
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Damyean Dotson’s competitive fire is shining for the New York Knicks this season and the former second-round pick is playing with an edge.

Danny Small

NEW YORK, NEW YORK — The New York Knicks are in the planning stages for the future. With a brand new head coach and a relatively new front office, they are looking to build a contender in the Eastern Conference. Damyean Dotson — a former second-round pick — represents an opportunity for the Knicks to catapult their rebuild forward.

First-round picks can make or break a team. They are vital towards building a roster and it’s no secret that the best teams in the league consistently draft productive players in the first round. General managers get fired for missing on first rounders. The same cannot be said about second-round selections.

The second round is more of a crapshoot. Securing top-tier talent in the second round is rare, but it can catapult a team forward. Guys like Draymond Green, Manu Ginobili, and Dennis Rodman are all examples of players who helped put a contending team over the top and win a championship.

The Knicks aren’t quite there yet and it’s unfair to saddle Dotson with Hall-of-Fame expectations like the players mentioned above, but he’s been a hallmark for consistency through the team’s first eight games. It’s still far too early to tell what his long-term role will be for the Knicks, but he is tightening his grip on his current role as a starter each and every day. Fizdale has emphasized a “keep what you kill” mentality and Dotson is taking full advantage of this approach.

“The biggest thing for me is just trying to compete and play as hard as I can,” Dotson told ESNY. “Coach is believing in me and giving me a chance to play. I gotta take those opportunities to compete and play hard. Let everything else fall into place.”

Once Dotson got his opportunity, he’s yet to relinquish it. He’s averaging 13.2 points per game on 38 percent shooting from deep. He’s also hauling in 5.8 rebounds per game while showcasing his potential to fill a valuable role for the Knicks. Early on in the season, per game averages can look inflated based on one outlier performance.

That’s not the case with Dotson. The second-year player has scored in double figures in all six games he’s played in and he’s been a consistent threat to stretch the defense.

“Consistency is a good thing for a young guy to get right to and start building the habit of being consistent,” Fizdale told reporters following the team’s Halloween loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Dotson is showing a keen instinct on the court and a nose for the ball. When asked about the types of winning plays that Dotson makes, the head coach praised his ability to be in the right spots at the right moments.

“That’s something he does innately where he loves the competition. He loves the moment. He hit some big shots down the stretch too,” Fizdale told reporters. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in Dot. He’s earned that from us.”

These are the types of plays that will endear you to the coaching staff, as well as the fanbase. He’s provided an early season spark for a team that needed one following Kevin Knox’s injury. Dotson’s back-to-back three-pointers gave the Knicks life heading into halftime against the Eastern Conference powerhouse Boston Celtics. It was obvious to everyone in the building that Dotson brought an energy onto the court that gave the Knicks a much-needed lift.

He plays with a chip on his shoulder, but that’s just a writer’s way of describing his competitiveness on the court. Dotson prefers to use the term competitive to describe himself on the court.

“I would say there’s competitive spirit, just competing man,” Dotson told ESNY. “Telling myself I belong here and just competing and playing hard. When you playing like that, chip on your shoulder or whatever you wanna call it is going to come out. It may look angry but I’m just competing.”

The play on Wednesday that most clearly signified this type of mentality came after an Allonzo Trier bucket with under a minute left to play in the third. Domantas Sabonis went to inbound the ball to Tyreke Evans, but he failed to see Dotson lurking and waiting for the steal. Evans never even touched the ball and Sabonis compounded the turnover by allowing Dotson to finish through contact for the old-school three-point play.

Dotson pumped his fist and let the adoring Madison Square Garden reign cheers down from the stands. His scowl appeared to make him look angry, but we know he’s just competing.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.