If there were a category on stats.NBA.com for shoulder chips, Damyean Dotson would be among the league leaders.
He'd have to be. Since Dotson was drafted, the New York Knicks have the second-fewest wins in basketball, besting only the Phoenix Suns by a single victory. Yet despite being part of a team that should seemingly want to give minutes to any young player with a pulse, let alone one that shows actual hoops acumen, Dotson has played less than 30 percent of the possible minutes available. In 66 of 231 games New York has played since he was drafted, Dot hasn't even seen the court.
Thanks to this paucity of playing time, there's a perception that exists among some fans that Dotson simply isn't very good. Just don't tell that to Aaron Miller, who organizes runs in Houston for NBA players and prospective draftees and has been working with Dot over the course of this summer.
"Daymean is a true professional on and off the court. It has been an honor to work with him and play a role in his player development process."
Miller, who has also hosted players in his gym this summer such as Patrick Beverley, Wes Iwundu, Carsen Edwards, the Harrison twins, Bruno Caboclo, Josh Gray and draft prospect Trendon Watford, thinks Dotson is still just scratching the surface of what he can be. "We're trying to maximize his efficiency as a shooter while being able to score on all three levels."
The numbers would seem to indicate that Dotson has the talent to pull it off. As the Stepien's Spencer Pearlman pointed out recently, over the least three seasons, Dotson it one of just 37 players to see 3000 minutes, attempt at least 8.4 3-pointers per 100 possessions, convert at least 36 percent of those looks, and dish three assists per 100 possessions at the same time.
While these may seem like random statistical benchmarks, they show the outline of one of the more valuable player types in basketball: a volume shooting wing who can offer just enough playmaking to keep defenses honest.
Miller, who uses a combination of game tape, Synergy data and player conversations to prepare workouts that directly meet his players’ needs, has been trying to lean into that archetype even more. Specifically, one goal of his is to help turn Dotson into more than just a spot up threat. "While working with Damyean this summer, we've emphasized consistent shooting from the corners but also scoring with zero, one and two dribbles and creating space off the dribble."
He also notes that Dame is already proficient from the corner - he's hit 44 percent from those spots over the last two years, better than roughly three quarters of the league's wings - and wants to accentuate this existing strength. "He is such a consistent corner threat that we wanted to build on that foundation and expand his versatility in other areas."
That the Knicks haven't exactly had many versatile wings on their roster of late only further supports the point that Dotson's regular absence from the rotation is puzzling. When you throw in the fact that according to Cleaning the Glass, the Knicks have given up 2.4, 2.9 and 1.7 fewer points per 100 possessions when Dotson's been on the court over his first three seasons, it makes even less sense.
As Leon Rose and his revamped front office decide how to craft a largely malleable roster in the upcoming offseason, the hope is that they see past whatever reasons there were that Dotson hasn't played and instead focus on what he can bring to the table if given a real chance. As a restricted free agent with a mere $2 million cap hold, Dotson is certainly someone with whom it's worth seeing if a fair extension can be worked out. Something in the neighborhood of three years and north of $10 million total shouldn't be out of the question.
New York just shouldn't be surprised if they have competition for his services before all is said and done.