Former KU point guard Devon Dotson starting to see his NBA draft stock rise
Under normal circumstances, former Kansas basketball All-Americans Udoka Azubuike and Devon Dotson would be closing in on one of the biggest days of their lives.
The NBA’s pre-draft combine would be behind them, the interviews over and individual workouts nearing their end.
Instead, KU’s two NBA draft hopefuls still have more than four months to prepare their minds, games and strategies for the 2020 draft, which is now slated to take place Oct. 15 instead of June 25.
What the world of sports will look like by then is anybody’s guess. But the unexpected delay may benefit Azubuike and Dotson.
Projected as fringe first-rounders throughout most of the 2019-20 college season, both now have a few extra months to find ways to entice NBA teams into picking them in the first round.
Even though it’s an election year, the two KU All-Americans won’t be hitting the campaign trail to do it. Instead, they’ll simply have more time to work out and get their bodies ready so they can put on the best show possible when teams are able to work out players again.
Asked recently by Langston Wertz Jr. of The Charlotte Observer if he thought his college game film and accolades speaking for him would give him an advantage over some of the lesser-known or international point guards in the draft, Dotson said the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have left everything up in the air.
“That’s what people are kind of hinting towards,” Dotson told Wertz of his status as more of a known commodity. “But you just never know. You could have a good workout, shoot it well and that could move you up. Kind of just waiting and seeing.”
In the meantime, in the world of draft prognostications, there also will be time for the Jayhawks to create a little buzz behind their names. And there already are indications that that is starting to happen with Dotson.
In CBS Sports’ most recent 2020 mock draft, which was released Thursday, Dotson is listed as the No. 24 overall pick, up 12 spots from their previous mock draft earlier this spring.
Not only is that firmly in the first round, but it also is closing in on being closer to the lottery than the second round.
That’s not to say Dotson has lottery potential. The highest he could probably be picked is somewhere around No. 20, which is still several picks outside of the top 14 selections that make up the lottery.
But the fact that he’s already slotted this high shows that people are starting to like what they hear and see about the KU point guard.
In fact, one publication — Dime Magazine — has Dotson rated as the No. 13 overall prospect in this year’s draft class. Most other mock drafts have him slated to go with one of the final picks in Round 1 or early in Round 2. The latest prediction from CBS Sports winds up splitting the difference between the two extremes.
The crazy thing about Dotson going to Utah at No. 24, if it were to happen, is that it would make him the eighth point guard taken in the 2020 draft’s first 24 picks.
Most draft gurus believe that this is as deep and strong of a point guard draft as we’ve seen in years, and the latest CBS mock draft backs that up. Most other years, Dotson’s skill set would make him a top three or four point guard option, which would only help his chances of going higher.
In 2019, just three point guards were taken in the first 23 picks. The year before that, there were four.
You have to go all the way back to 2009 to find a draft where so many point guards were taken in the first 23 picks. That year, when Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn and Steph Curry went at picks 5, 6 and 7, nine PGs were picked in the first 23 picks, including five in a row from picks 17-21.
This year, with the likes of LaMelo Ball, Cole Anthony, Tre Jones, Tyrese Haliburton and two talented lead guards from France all on the board, NBA teams looking for a player to run their offense have plenty of options and can choose from a variety of styles.
Dotson does things better than all of those guys. But each one them has a size advantage. The average height of the seven point guards projected ahead of the 6-foot-2 Dotson by CBS is 6-4, with three of the seven standing 6-5 or taller.
Dotson has overcome questions about his lack of size throughout his career and has the confidence to do it again in the NBA.
“The idea with Dotson is that he immediately slots into a part-time role as an attacking guard off the bench and then hopefully becomes a good enough shooter to start in time,” wrote Dime Magazine’s Brian Schroeder last month. “He’s fallen a bit between the cracks with all the other mid-level guards this year, but he was an excellent college basketball player who is still young and has great speed, which is something you always bank on.”