Editor’s Note: With just two weeks until “Media Day,” the 2017-2018 NBA season is rapidly approaching. Today kicks off our player preview series, in which our staff will break down all 15 members of the Atlanta Hawks. The first entry centers on rookie guard Tyler Dorsey.
Tyler Dorsey is an explosive offensive player, with defensive problems and ball movement being the main problems facing him in his rookie season. The Atlanta Hawks drafted Dorsey with the 41st overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. They took Dorsey after he had an incredible NCAA Tournament where he featured as one of the main Oregon Ducks offensive weapons in a run to the Final Four. If you want to get to know Dorsey a bit more, you can check out his journey from Team USA Under-18 reject to the Final Four here.
Dorsey’s offensive production throughout his college career was consistent, but he shined in the NCAA Tournament. The Hawks drafted Dorsey expecting to grow the player they saw peak in the NCAA Tournament, not the guy that played in two regular seasons at Oregon with average offensive production.
What will Dorsey be on the 2017-2018 Hawks?
Who Dorsey could be for the Hawks in the 2017-2018 season is a loaded question. How many minutes Dorsey will get purely depends on where the Hawks see themselves going as team. Getting Dorsey some serious minutes in the latter half of the season seems to be the likeliest route for how this upcoming season will go.
Right off the bat, Dorsey can be an explosive offensive talent off the bench for five minute stretches. The perfect formula for what Dorsey could be for the Hawks this season is very much what he did against Michigan in the NCAA Tournament. It was Dorsey’s lowest scoring game of the entire tournament, which is saying something, but how he scored and the shots he got could be a great example of how the Hawks could use him this year.
Dorsey’s third and fourth shots in the video are how he can be incredibly effective as a Hawks role player. His first two threes took too long for him to get his shot off, but the shot is there nevertheless. How quickly he gets the third three off is a wonderful example of how Dorsey could be used in the transition offense. Then using his success from three-point range to drive past Michigan defenders for his fourth scoring play of the game shows his offensive arsenal.
Obviously, the type of defenses Dorsey will face in the NBA are going to be much more put together and quicker than the Michigan defense in the video above. Which is why you should watch his performance in the rest of the tournament. He played against much better defenders in games against Kansas and North Carolina, and you get a better sense of his strengths and weaknesses.
He’s an explosive shooter with NBA range. In a motion offense, Dorsey could potentially thrive with the offensive skill you can saw in the tournament run with the Ducks. He’s an excellent shooter in streaks and can be an awesome heat-check guy to bring in for sections of the game. The best case scenario for Dorsey this year is that the Hawks can bring him during offensively slow periods of the game, and he can inject some explosive shooting during those stretches.
Dorsey can be a bit of a ball stopper on offense. When he makes a three or gets to the bucket in an offensively effective move, that’s great. But as you can see in his NCAA Tournament run, the ball sometimes just stopped when it reached him. It was also seemingly a clear part of the Ducks offensive strategy. Dorsey was on fire the entire tournament and getting him chances with the ball was working out really well for them.
How Budenholzer uses Dorsey is the most fascinating aspect of his being drafted by the Hawks. Putting a young, offensive talent like Dorsey in the hands of Coach Bud could be dangerous. If anyone can get the most out of Dorsey in a team oriented offense, it’s Budenholzer.
The other weakness that likely kept Dorsey from the first-round is his defensive ineffectiveness. Even in college, Dorsey wasn’t quick enough laterally to be a defensive stopper. While his role will certainly be offense first, Budenholzer will need to get Dorsey to a level of being defensively consistent. At the very least, increased defensive IQ and know-how should get Dorsey to the point of not being a weakness on defense.
The most likely best-case scenario this year for Dorsey is being a pinpoint three-point shooter with the ability to take his defenders off the dribble. Not a liability on the defensive end and able to cover stretches of the game without stopping up the offense. The true test of Dorsey’s viability as a consistent NBA player is when he’s cold during stretches of the game.
Will Coach Budenholzer be able to keep him in without Dorsey slowing down the offense? Or will Dorsey be the type of player where he can only play for long stretches once he’s made a few shots in a row? Hopefully, Dorsey will play enough to answer these questions and more in his rookie season.