For the first time in program history, Oregon has five individuals preparing for the 2017 NBA Draft. The greatest team in program history was loaded with professional talent, such as Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis. I will be previewing them in that order this week, as we prepare for the NBA Draft on June 22.
With our fourth NBA Draft Profile, we evaluate Mr. March.
Dorsey was sized up in Chicago on May 9-14 from the NBA Combine. The combo guard measured at 6-foot-4.5, which was actually taller than he was listed during the college season. His wingspan registered at 6-foot-5.5 for the sharpshooter.
The Pasadena native leads by example, not his mouth. His teammates lovingly referred to him as “The Silent Assassin,” and he lived up to the term of endearment. Dorsey’s overwhelming intangible is that he’s NEVER out of a fight.
His strength above all others is his ability to score. At the end of the day, a great deal of scouts and GM’s were salivating at Dorsey’s tournament run. His final eight college basketball games during his sophomore season changed the landscape of TD’s life.
Dorsey is a solid defender, but more times than not is the undersized man. He has good hands, catches everything and has a quick shot release. These are all key factors for a shooting guard in the modern NBA.
“Tyler is the quiet assassin. He doesn’t talk smack, he just shows his game,” said teammate Jordan Bell.
When he focuses on rebounding, Dorsey will make an active impact on the glass. By simply getting down lower in the post when shots are hoisted up, the California kid was able to make his presence felt from a rebounding perspective.
He is an unselfish scorer who will gladly make the extra pass for his team. Dorsey always keeps his head up on the dribble, enabling opportunities when they present themselves.
His pump fake and drive is the lifeblood that will keep his career going strong. I told him this during the season and hopefully he continues doing it. When a defense is selling out to defend behind the arc, a player like Dorsey can change the game with a few buckets.
During the tournament in particular, teams were guarding Dorsey so close that his pump fake enabled him space and freedom on the floor, if only for a few seconds. It’s vital to Dorsey’s success on a basketball court.
Dorsey has difficulty creating space for his shot. When he is defensed by a taller player, he often struggles from the field. If his shot is off, then he must learn how to play the decoy role without forcing too many shots.
In college, he could live at the charity stripe if he was struggling from the field. Will he be able to do the same in the NBA? My gut says no. Because Dorsey lacks explosiveness, a good defender knows they don’t have to jump until he rises up. It changes the entire mental approach of the jump shot from a less athletic player.
He is not laterally quick, therefore he struggles going to his right or left when an offensive player drives past him. His feet need improvement. For a smaller guard, he does not have quick feet. He is fast down the floor, but his quickness is lacking.
The California kid is not that athletic and his explosiveness is something to be desired. Dorsey will succeed in the NBA if he has the same mindset that he did in college. Yet, if he feels he is talented enough to rely on his jumper, he will be playing in Europe in less than three years.
I believe the North Carolina game was the best example of my theory. Theo Pinson was the best defender on the Tar Heels last year. At 6-foot-6, he presented a difficult match-up for the scorching hot shooter. Due to his length and defensive discipline, Dorsey struggled vs Pinson. In fact, his 27 percent (3-for-11) shooting vs Pinson was Dorsey’s worst of the tournament by far.
At the next level, Dorsey would be facing a “Pinson” type on a nightly basis. The NBA doesn’t boast many 6-foot-2 shooting guards like college.
Dorsey is a fighter. He does not stop until the game is over and I can’t respect that fact enough. I appreciate his mentality. Like Brooks, Dorsey knows he was overlooked and is prepared to never let it happen again.
“We’re all dogs on this team,” said Dorsey after Oregon’s decisive 14-point win over No. 1 Kansas. “We don’t stop fighting. We’re a bunch of dogs.”
Statistically, Dorsey averaged 14.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.8 APG and 0.8 SPG for his two years at Oregon. He shot 42 percent (88-for-208) from 3-point territory in 2016-17, alongside a robust 51 percent from the field. Not to mention, TD was a solid 76 percent free throw shooter last season.
Dorsey leaves the program after scoring 1,055 career points for the Ducks. He helped Oregon land a No. 1 seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Not to mention, he was the catalyst for UO’s first Final Four appearance in 77 years. Dorsey never lost a home game (35-0) from Matthew Knight Arena during his brief Oregon career.
Dorsey tied his career-high with 27 points against No. 1 Kansas in Kansas City. An ecstatic Dorsey addressed the situation after the Ducks’ massive Elite Eight victory.
“We never been there” Dorsey said. “We want to put the banner up. There is only one banner at Oregon. They sleep on the west coast. We’re competitors. We love this game.”
For a majority of his career with the Ducks, Dorsey was a secondary option. He accepted 5-9 shots a night and was content averaging 13 points per game roughly. On a rare occasion, he would attempt 13 shots maximum.
Yet, something happened to Dorsey when the Pac-12 Tournament began. He struck lava and the rest is history. It began with 21 points vs Arizona State and concluded with 21 against North Carolina in the Final Four. During that torrid stretch, Dorsey broke a handful of Oregon and NCAA records.
He was the first Duck to record 20 points or more in their first fives games of the tournament during an individual season. Dorsey averaged 23 points per game during the final eight games of his impressive campaign.
“I wasn’t interested in my draft stock during the process of that. I was just focused on winning,” Dorsey stated. “I took care of that after the season. During that run (NCAA Tournament), I wasn’t looking at that at all. They watch a lot of our games.”
And let’s not forget his record-breaking 90 percent shooting (9-for-10) night vs No. 11 Rhode Island plus the game-winning shot. On three separate occasions during his 8-game streak, Dorsey registered a 9-for-13 shooting (69 percent) performance that led to three Oregon victories.
He has quick hands but never averaged more than 0.8 steals per game over his career. Dorsey needs improvement with his footwork on the defensive end. However, he can turn up the defensive intensity when needed. In the NBA, he will need to carry his own on defense so that they allow him to be on the floor for the offensive fireworks.
Dorsey needs to work on his footwork, lateral movement and explosiveness. He lacks the upper-echelon athleticism to be elite on either end of the floor. He is fast down the length of the floor, but scouts desire more from his feet. For his size, he should have more fluidly. He can not rely ONLY on his jump shot at the next level. They are experts at exploiting weakness in the NBA.
If the Pasadena product wants to be paid like a professional basketball player, he will need to play like one. Dorsey needs to improve his dribbling for a guard. No matter how you slice it, a guard needs to have handles to last in the league.
Just use Steph Curry as an example of hard work paying off. Curry entered the league as a simple sharpshooter. Yet, he evolved into the league MVP with an insane workout regime. His attention to the details of his own game made him a superstar. It’s all about the fundamentals, in every aspect of life.
This is the reason why Dorsey is in the NBA conversation. He could have been satisfied with his role the last two years. When Boucher went down though, Dorsey took it upon himself to make up the difference.
“I knew before the season Tyler was going to leave,” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. “You play that well for that many games, I can’t blame him. Those guys were straight up with us and their families. If they had a nice year, we knew they were going to leave. Tyler was ‘Mr. March’ or whatever they called him. We knew it was coming.”
If it wasn’t for Dorsey and Bell, I am not sure Oregon is playing against the eventual champs in the 2017 Final Four. No matter if his team is up 20 or down 20, Dorsey is relentless in his pursuit of winning. That is what sets him apart from most prospects.
Dorsey is a throwback player. He is a specialized shooter who has scored at every level he has played in his life. He reminds me of Steve Kerr back in the day. Dorsey may not present a great deal of talent on defense, but he will make up for it on offense. A shooter fits into every system, so I’m not worried about his athletic makeup hurting his value.
Dorsey was on his way to Kerr’s old stomping grounds in Tucson before redirecting his career to Eugene. Kerr was a silent assassin in his day too.
Kerr was not the fastest or the tallest. He certainly wasn’t the strongest or most athletic. However, he had a legendary NBA career with a handful of championships. Dorsey could achieve similar success with the lights out jumper and determined mindset he possesses.
Honestly, Kerr succeeded from his brilliant ability to read a game and react to it. He would see holes in the defense, then work his way over to those zones. Once Kerr was open, his teammates would start running back on defense because it was a lock. He was going to bury that shot.
Teammates of Tyler Dorsey had similar reactions when Dorsey was on his game. He doesn’t have to be the greatest athlete to succeed at the next level. He just needs to work hard and know his role. The rest will fall into place if it’s meant to be. Dorsey could have a long, productive career as a sharpshooter.
NBA DRAFT PROJECTION
Most scouts see Dorsey being selected in the second round of the NBA Draft. I can see Dorsey going anywhere from late in the first round to not being selected at all. I can see Dorsey signing as a free agent immediately after the draft ends. However, I believe one organization will go out of their way in the second round for him.
Philadelphia would be a nice home for Dorsey. Alongside the 76ers’ big men and the 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, Dorsey could be a giant piece of the puzzle at the shooting guard spot.
Another great place for Dorsey to succeed would be the Milwaukee Bucks. Alongside a rising star and his Greek International teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo, Dorsey could slide right into Jason Kidd’s attack. The Bucks have always coveted above average scoring guards. Dorsey would fit their two guard mold to perfection.
Portland would be another fantastic landing spot for Dorsey. With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum already in place, the three of them could certainly fill up a stat sheet. In the modern game of Golden State basketball, shooters are essential.
“I think it was good. We did a lot of competitive drills. This was my eighth one,” said Dorsey said after his workout with Portland. “It definitely gives you an advantage going into the draft. It gets you used to the lifestyle, the traveling.”
The Blazers have three first round selections (15, 20, 26) and zero picks in the second round. If they want any Ducks, they need to grab them early or trade down in the draft. This is a legitimate destination for the sniper.
Dorsey has worked out for nine teams already, including the New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. He has three more workouts scheduled for a total of 12 NBA teams prior to the draft on June 22 from Brooklyn.
“I’ve learned a lot about the program, the system they run,” said Dorsey about playing with different teams. “Meet new guys. It’s like a job interview. I’m trying to show them my ability, while they are getting to know me.”
My sleeper team for Dorsey are the Kings. The Sacramento franchise is in a complete overhaul. Sometimes that is the best situation for someone like Dorsey to slide into the starting line-up without much competition for minutes. They may not be successful immediately, but Dorsey could find the heavy minutes he desires.
TYLER DORSEY WORKOUTS (12)
New York Knicks
THE MADNESS OF MR. MARCH
Video courtesy of NCAA March Madness via YouTube
My next NBA Draft Profile: Dylan Ennis will be published on Sunday at ATQ.
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