It’s been only a few months since Tyler Dorsey had the basketball world’s full attention. The 6-foot-4 combo guard from Oregon caught fire at the start of the postseason and didn’t show any sign of slowing down until the Ducks’ season met its bitter end in the Final Four. This hot streak came at the perfect time for Dorsey, as his regular season stats were below expectations, and he wasn’t on any draft boards until after the NCAA Tournament. Instead, his big-time performance was enough for the Atlanta Hawks to take him with the 41st pick.
Dorsey will have the opportunity to fill a positional need for the Hawks. At the end of the season, Atlanta only had one true shooting guard on the roster in Tim Hardaway Jr. The Hawks were also only 23rd in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage at 34.1 percent. Dorsey only shot 37.8 percent during the regular season, but that number escalated to a scorching 55.7 percent during both the Pac-12 tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Dorsey wasn’t the most consistent player during his college career, but he did have one of the hottest tournaments in recent memory, and showing up on the biggest stages can go a long ways. However, while his incredible tournament got him drafted, his inconsistencies were surely what kept him from ever having a shot at the first round.
In 14 of Oregon’s 31 regular season games, Dorsey failed to crack double digits. This went along with six games in which he had either one or zero field goals made. Of course, the depth of the Ducks can take some credit for that. Dorsey was the second option on offense, but some of the other players could get hot, the he had no need to even look for his own shot. In only two of those 14 games where Dorsey didn’t break double digits did he attempt 10 or more shots. One could easily make the argument that Dorsey’s scoring struggles were due to a lack of attempts, rather than low percentages.
The other argument that Dorsey won’t last in the NBA is his size. At 6-foot-4, he is taller than most point-guards and shorter than most shooting-guards. It’s unlikely that Dorsey will ever play heavy minutes at the point due to his low assist numbers (only 1.8 per game in his two years at Oregon). Being slightly undersized to play shooting-guard will also make it a little more difficult for him to play defense on many others at his position. His disadvantage is less severe than what some other players have to deal with though. He may be in a positional limbo, but the current small ball trend should help to clarify Dorsey as a shooting guard fairly early into his career.
Dorsey capped off a solid college career with what was probably the most memorable offensive stretch in Oregon Basketball history. He was probably the best shooter that Oregon had, and that could help him into building a long NBA career. Every team is in need of a good three-point shooter, and Atlanta is lacking in them. Summer league will help to give an idea of just how prepared Dorsey is to play at the next level. If recent history is any indicator, Dorsey will be working his way into Atlanta’s rotation soon.