PJ went to high school right down the road from me, then played 2 years of college ball at my alma mater so I am very familiar with who he is and how his game has developed. I was one of the many South Carolina fans who were stunned when he announced he was entering this draft. Not only because I thought he needed 1 more year in college to develop and to play as the leader, but also because I knew he was looking at a second round grade due to the depth of this draft… particularly at the point guard position.
I was equally stunned when I heard he signed to play for the Lakers in Summer League where he was guaranteed to at least be behind Lonzo and ended up also being behind Alex Caruso. He barely played in Vegas when he was healthy and then an ankle injury kept him off of the court and out of the sight of all of the scouts in attendance. Things weren’t looking good but the kid was a McDonald’s All-American for a reason. I had no doubt he’d at the very least end up on someone’s G-League squad but never for a second thought it’d be the Mavs who would scoop him up. However, we are here. So what are the Mavs getting?
Statistically he’s not that sexy. He’s a guard who shot 38% from the floor his freshman year and then 40.7% in his sophomore year. From 3 the numbers were even more bleak as he shot 21% from 3 his freshman year and improved… to just 29.8% this past season.
His numbers were even more dismal in SEC play as he shot just 34% from the field and 21.7% from 3 this season.
As far as his point guard skills? He averaged just 2.8 assists per game with 2.2 turnovers to match. So why did he come out you might ask?
Athleticism: The kid is an impressive athlete and passes all of the eye tests. He’s 6’6″ with a 6’11” wingspan. When he has the ball in his hand he glides across the court almost as if he’s moving in slow motion. He’s not the nicest ball handler but he’s crafty and weaves his way to the basket effortlessly. Despite playing most of his high school career with no ACL (and not realizing it) he’s a high flyer who put down a few nice dunks this season. The one below comes courtesy of the Draft Combine.
Defense: When you play for Frank Martin you are going to play defense or you are not going to play and this is an area where Dozier is actually ahead of the curve. He is a very aware defender both on and off the ball and uses his length and anticipation to play the passing lanes. He gets a lot of deflections and uses his length to bother smaller guards. It also helps him make up for his slight frame when dealing with bigger guards.
Other skills: He is a coach’s son so he is very aware on the court which is why I settled in and allowed myself to “overrate” him by ranking him #32 on my top 50 prospects list. The IQ is there, the defense is there, the natural physical gifts are there. He just really needs to figure out what he is. Either he’s a silky smooth SG and needs to work on his consistency as a shooter, or he’s a silky smooth PG who can get inside whenever he wants and hit open shooters like a Jrue Holiday. I expect it’s the latter but I need to see him do it on a consistent basis because I did not get that at SC.
After battling with myself on how to rate him and realizing that I was being hard on him because of my bitterness over him leaving school early…
This is how I ended up describing Dozier in my scouting book:
(I put his 2k rating range at 61-77)
“Smooth, Long strides in transition, crafty getting to the rim, can pass over the top with his size, uses his length defensively, not a polished PG, shot needs to improve, rebounds well, raw, needs 2-3 years.”
The last part of that evaluation is the key to me. Besides the fact that he has a small frame he is not polished enough as a lead guard to play in the NBA right now and is not a consistent enough shooter to play significant minutes off of the ball either. I’d be shocked if he didn’t end up with a 2-way at best so that he can spend significant time in the G-League to work on these things. At the very least we are putting him in the position to cut him before the season and sign him to our D-League team.
If we are looking at him as a project he could end up being a good player in a couple of years. Perhaps as early as the 18-19 season if he balls out this year in the G-League.
Thanks again for reading and stay tuned for more in the future!