When Sam Merril was selected with the No. 60 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, I was confused. The draft had officially ended without Kansas guard Devon Dotson coming off the board. A player who had just averaged 18.1 points. 4.0 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals for the 28-3 Kansas Jayhawks, a.k.a. the No. 1 team in college basketball.
Sure, he may have been a sophomore, and he may check-in at an underwhelming six-foot-two with a questionable 3-point shot, but I still assumed he was a lock to go in the second round. I wasn’t the only one either, as several NBA Draft analysts had him easily ranked as a top-50 draft prospect.
Here is what I wrote immediately after the draft on November 19th:
ESPN currently has him ranked as the best available player in this 2020 class, and they originally had him pegged as the 47th-overall prospect. Meanwhile, Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman had him as the No. 33-best prospect in the draft on his big board and The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie put him at number 42. As I watched the second-round picks play by, I was honestly surprised I didn’t see his name come off the board.
Fortunately, the Bulls eventually did sign Dotson as an undrafted free agent. And in my opinion, he’s one of the UDFAs with the best shot at finding himself in an NBA rotation relatively soon. His pedigree is part of that, sure, but so is his performance inside the G-League bubble.
While the Bulls organization did not send their affiliate to Orlando, they did assign Dotson to the Canton Charge. The 21-year-old has two games under his belt thus far, and I can’t help but assume Arturas Karnisovas has been left with a smile on his face after each. In his debut performance, Dotson played the classics. He used his naturally blazing speed to beat defenders in transition as well as off the first step. He played the role of a score-first point guard and walked off the court with 16 points on an efficient 7-13 shooting performance from the field. He also added 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal in his 29 minutes of play.
For more on Devon Dotson’s first game, I recommend checking out Stephen Noh’s thread and article below. He does a great job breaking down some of the more nitty-gritty things.
And here's Dotson's full highlights package. Nice debut from him. pic.twitter.com/5RdqcyIMmb
— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) February 12, 2021
Canton’s second game (last Friday) is where the more well-rounded Dotson entered the picture.
The rookie finished with a near triple-double on 12 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. He may have shot only 3-9 from the field with all three of his makes coming at the rim, but he found a way to impact the game despite his shooting woes, as good players tend to do. When the final buzzer sounded, Dotson had a ridiculous +29 on the day, and those 10 assists were the second-most we have seen him dish between college and the pros (had 11 assists against TCU in February of 2020).
I can’t stress enough how impressive it is that a guard with Dotson’s size also hauled in 9 rebounds, four of which were on the offensive end. While this isn’t something we should expect to see very often, it does go to show the kind of aggressive play Dotson has to offer. He is always looking to get his hands on the ball, which also becomes more than obvious on the defensive end, as well. Dotson makes up for his lack of size with utter fearlessness on that end of the floor.
The guy’s willingness to get your face and draw contact pairs well with the lateral speed that makes him a very solid on-ball defender. We haven’t necessarily seen his ability to poke the ball away show up in the stat sheet over these first two games, but I’ll just point out that he did finish first in the Big 12 in steals last season and 23rd-overall in steals per game. He is pesky.
So … what does all this mean? Well, nothing quite yet. It’s just two games for Dotson, and I’m sure the Bulls will want to see plenty more of him before they decided to call him back into the big leagues. However, on his two-way contract, he is allowed to be active for 50 games this season, and the more he impresses in the G-League, the more interested the Bulls coaching staff could become in giving him some rotational minutes. After all, the team does kinda have this not-so-small need at point guard right now.