Mavs sign former South Carolina guard PJ Dozier
Former South Carolina guard PJ Dozier is officially a Dallas Maverick after signing a partially guaranteed deal the team announced on Tuesday.
The 6 foot 7 inch, 200 pound guard was a key role player in South Carolina’s improbable run to the 2017 Final Four. Dozier is only 20 years old and his last year at South Carolina was his sophomore season. During his sophomore campaign, he averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 28.7 minutes per game. Dozier was named to the East Region All Tournament Team in 2017. He played for the Lakers during the Las Vegas summer league averaging 1 point and 1.5 rebounds in 5 minutes per game.
Dozier played shooting guard in college, meaning that if the Mavs still see him as a guard they will now have 8 guards on the roster. Although he could still play at guard, his height and 6 foot 11-inch wing span suggest that he will be a wing player in today’s NBA, where versatility on defense and length are highly valued. These type of players, especially 3 and D guys, are now becoming more prevalent. It is the same reason why Dallas took a flyer on undrafted Dorian Finney-Smith, a similar player to Dozier in height and wingspan.
With a defensive win-share of 2.6, Dozier was 18th in the NCAA in defensive win-shares during the 2017 season. His per 40-minute stats have him averaging 2.3 steals and 6.7 rebounds. In the NBA, Dozier will be asked to guard positions 2 through 4, just like Finney-Smith did in 81 games for the Mavericks last year. Dallas now has two young, undrafted defensive wing players at bargain deals. If these two players develop an offensive game to complement their defensive ability the Mavericks front office will look very smart in the future.
Just like DFS, Dozier needs work here. A lot of work. You can’t be a 3 and D player in the NBA if you cannot shoot. Dozier shot almost 30% from three and 40% from the field last year. In a league that is stressing spacing and shooting, he looks like he might be one of the players that defenses encourage to shoot. His length gives him the ability to finish around the rim, but if he drives it inside, defenses will not feel bad for fouling him after he only averaged 60% shooting from the free throw line last year. There are plenty of similarities to Finney-Smith, but DFS has Dozier beat when it comes to three point shooting. In college, Finney-Smith averaged 36% from the three point line during his senior season and 42% from three during his junior season. Dozier has never broken 30% shooting from three as he only averaged 29.8% during his last year in college. Both players will need to develop their shooting to become the versatile wing players the Mavericks want them to be.
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