Damyean Dotson
Anthony J. Causi

Damyean Dotson’s recent hot streak is proof of his game developing to a higher level, which could be great for the New York Knicks.

Josh Benjamin

Damyean Dotson is turning a lot of heads.

The former second-round pick has been playing quite well as of late, averaging 19.2 points per game his last five games. With the New York Knicks basically tanking, his continued development is very much a positive sign for the future.

Dotson has not only shown further developed skills during this hot streak, but also maturity. He has gone from being a simple three-and-D to a disciplined wing player on both sides of the court.

Naturally, this is only going to help the young Knicks. New York needs its strong young core to be a key selling point in free agency this summer. I’ve already discussed how young center Mitchell Robinson fits into the offseason plans. Dotson’s recent play makes him no less of a selling point.

Moreover, it means Dotson seems determined to be more than just a role and depth man on the Knicks.

A diamond in the rough

Just like Aladdin, Damyean Dotson came to the NBA as a diamond in the rough. The only difference is instead of wishing to be a prince, he wished to be a professional basketball player.

The Knicks gave Dotson the chance to live that dream, making him a second-round pick out of Houston in 2017. Dotson averaged 17.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in his senior year with the Cougars, and also shot an eye-popping 44.3 percent from three-point land.

New York Knicks

Dotson only averaged 4.1 points in 44 games last season at just 10.8 minutes per contest but did quite well in the G League. He played 13 games for the Westchester Knicks and averaged 18.2 points and six boards per game. Dotson also shot 48.7 percent from the field and 39 percent from long range. There was a good player in him somewhere, but some extra seasoning was needed.

Cougar on the loose

Damyean Dotson came into camp this year looking like a completely different player. He had more confidence on the court and took his shots with ice water in his veins.

Dotson has since averaged 10.8 points while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers are modest, but numbers don’t do his improvement justice.

He isn’t afraid to turn his motor up to 11. All season long, he has been learning when to go for a three-pointer or jump shot. There’s definitely room for improvement, as 21.2 percent of Dotson’s points scored his year have been in the mid-range, but he’s still just 24 years old. He’s going to continue improving, especially under an excellent coach in David Fizdale.

Dotson’s VORP is also an unimpressive 0.2, but it’s still an improvement considering he put up a mark of -0.1 last season.

The point is he is getting better as a player, and that spells good things for the Knicks.

A future asset

At the start of the season, the idea of Damyean Dotson as a franchise selling point seemed preposterous. After all, star big man Kristaps Porzingis was surely going to sign a max-extension in the summer. Rookie Kevin Knox had some promise too. Adding Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving in free agency would be a breeze!

My, how things have changed. Porzingis has since been traded to the Dallas Mavericks after a very public falling out with Knicks management. The Knicks now have the cap space to offer two max contracts rather than one, except there’s a catch: it’s even harder to recruit people to New York now.

Or is it? Robinson is showing he is an excellent young center in the making. Porzingis netted the Knicks a dynamic young point guard in Dennis Smith Jr. Former lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay is coming into his own as a slashing scoring guard.

Enter Dotson, who we can put in the same camp as Mudiay. He isn’t going to regularly score a bunch each night, at least at not this point, but can be relied upon to get some baskets if need be. He has confidence, determination, and fits well in Fizdale’s system.

Dotson may not have the name recognition, but he’s just as important to the team’s future. That means including him when trying to woo Durant, Irving, or any free agents.

Final thoughts

Most important of all, Damyean Dotson’s continued development is important for one key reason. If the Knicks are snakebit this summer and don’t lure any free agents, he’ll really need to step up.

This is because while New York is young to a fault, the Knicks’ youth can also be molded into a talented young squad under Fizdale’s watch. Given how much Dotson has improved this season alone, just imagine what could be coming if he continues on his current path.

Whether it’s helping lure free agents or helping the Knicks win, one thing is certain.

Be it as a star or role player, Damyean Dotson needs to be a big part of New York’s basketball future.

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