The NBA Draft has produced surprises in the past. The Houston Rockets may be the team that produces this year’s surprise pick.
With the NBA Draft 2017 a week away, there are plenty of headlines waiting to be made. But as far as we’re concerned, who will the Houston Rockets take at picks 43 and 45? Will Daryl Morey’s trick up his sleeve involve packaging one or both these picks? While these are great questions, let’s assume the Rockets keep at least one pick.
Since this is a draft that is fairly deep, the potential to snag a diamond in the rough is possible. Maybe the Houston Rockets take a chance and they pull off the steal of the draft. Let’s take a look at a player that might prove to be a gem in this year’s draft. We will examine his potential and how he could fit the Rockets needs.
PJ Dozier: PG/SG, South Carolina
Due to an impressive Final Four run with the South Carolina Gamecocks, PJ Dozier’s draft stock rose. As a 6’6″ point guard, Dozier averaged 13.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. In addition to that, he also averaged 1.7 steals per game.
His stats improved during the NCAA tournament. Posting 16 points and 5 boards during the run. Most notably, for a guard, he has a 6’11” wingspan who finishes at the rim exceptionally well. He is also very active on defense, giving him the potential to be a good two-way player. However, there was a reason for him flying under the radar.
While Dozier is gifted with length and athleticism, his offensive game is still very raw. His numbers from the field show that. 41%, 30% from 3 point range, and a mere 60% from the free throw line. As a result, he is a great defender, who struggles offensively when he’s not getting to the rim. So why bother taking a chance on Dozier? Here’s why.
Apr 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks guard PJ Dozier (15) dunks the ball against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Zach Collins (32) during the second half in the semifinals of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
There are two NBA players Dozier reminds me of. The immediate comparison is Shaun Livingston. A lengthy guard, who is an excellent defender and can utilize his size to get good looks on offense. If his numbers improve, especially from 3 point land, he can become a younger version of our own Trevor Ariza. Maybe even better.
But let’s not get too far ahead. In the right system, Dozier could really improve and excel in the NBA. I believe the Houston Rockets have that system. He has the potential to develop into a useful rotation player. If he continues to polish his game, Dozier could carve out a career as an effective role player.
Overall, Dozier is a big guard who can cause problems defensively. However, he needs to develop further on offense. While he may be a season or two away from getting meaningful minutes in the NBA, he is worth the pick. A 6’6″ combo guard that defends, can handle the ball, and get to the rim is a good starting place. Only time will tell how good this kid can be. But if Dozier is available at 43rd or 45th, he could pay off if the Rockets pick him.
We’ll find out a week from now who the Houston Rockets pick, or if they trade the picks away. Stay tuned until then, Red Nation!
*All stats via Sports-Reference*