After a successful trial in the All-Star Game, should the NBA adopt the Elam Ending in more meaningful games?

In a league where shot creation is now king, we bring you two guys who fit that exact mold. Devon Dotson finished his second season at Kansas as a consensus 2nd team All-American. While Cassius Winston continued to rack up significant honors on the way to a storied career at Michigan State. 

DEVON DOTSON

Devon Dotson was the head of the snake at Lawrance, KS. Dotson logged over 1,000 minutes both as a freshman and sophomore under head coach Bill Self. Why is that important? Self is often quick on the hook with his young pups. But in Dotson, the head coach found a comforting court general to lead his offense. Dotson’s quickness at point guard is his calling card. In the open court, he is electric. Dotson often attacked the glass and pushed the Jayhawks offense in transition. But in the half-court things get muddled. Dotson’s outside game is still a heavy question mark. Establishing that element of his game can turn this Kansas’ guard into one of the most refined offensive players in the draft. 

STRENGTHS

  • Electric downhill quickness. Thrives in space. Attacks a switch with authority. Takes defenders either left or right.
  • Manages ball pressure well. Smooth handle. Cut turnover rate by 4.4% with a considerable uptick in usage 
  • Good help defender. Quick hands and decision making. Gambles with a high level of awareness.
  • Great vision in the open court. Decisive. Rewards teammates in transition and half-court
  • Versatile on-ball scorer. Per Synergy, 0.908 points per pick-and-roll possession (84th percentile). 1.085 points per transition possession (65th percentile).

WEAKNESSES

  • Average to inadequate outsider shooter. Career 33% from deep. Poor balance and inconsistent shooting mechanics
  • Low off-ball value offensively if shooting consistency does not improve. Hindering physical traits as a cutter.
  • Limited strength. Provides no resistance defending forwards. In constant need of weakside help. 
  • Lacks vertical burst to finish at the rim with consistency at the next level.
  • Room to develop scoring and passing off the dribble.

FILM HIGHLIGHT

A big element of Devon Dotson’s game is operating in space. Offensively, he is a load to handle downhill. Per Synergy, Dotson scored 0.889 points per isolation possession. A massive reason why is his ability to take defenders off the dribble.

Just watch how explosive he looks taking on West Virginia defenders here.

Dotson finished at a high frequency near the rim. He also leveraged his quickness to get to the line. In two seasons, Dotson amassed over 300 free throw attempts. Ranking in the top 5 in the conference for both years. Devon Dotson’s quickness also stands out defensively. He is a hyper-aware space defender.

Here he feels the entry pass and attacks it with authority.

Dotson’s quick feet (and hands) lead to an easy transition opportunity. This is where he can leverage his explosiveness to great extent at the next level.  

FIT AND FINAL VERDICT

Devon Dotson is an incremental shooting improvement away to becoming firmly entrenched in the first round discussion. Likely, teams won’t work out Doston due to the draft’s unique circumstances this year. That said, there is too much there to not consider him at the back end of the first round. The ability to create havoc on both ends is too intriguing for teams looking for shot creation and disruptive defense.

One team that immediately comes to mind is the Utah Jazz. This season, the Jazz took a big swing at Mike Conley Jr. What they uncovered is a player on the decline. Utah can use significant shot creation behind Donovan Mitchell. Pairing Dotson with Gobert also gives the Jazz an interesting pick-and-roll alternative to their offense. Gobert has demanded more scoring opportunities in the past. In Dotson, he has another guard willing and able to find him near the rim.

CASSIUS WINSTON

Cassius Winston is what you call a ‘decorated’ player. The two time Big 10 first-team guard ranks at the very top of the conference’s assist record. In four full seasons, Winston compiled 890 assists and over 250 made three-pointers. Winston brings a load of experience. The Spartans court general amassed close to 4,000 minutes at Lansing. A big reason is his durability. Since his freshman season, he has started 97 games for Tom Izzo’s squad. But in the NBA Winston will have to carve a complementary niche. A role where he can showcase bits of his tremendous feel for the game.

STRENGTHS

  • Phenomenal passing vision. Sees cutters and rollers behind the defense. A threat to push immediate offense in transition.
  • Decisive gambler on defense. Understands when and how to attack as a help defender. 
  • High competency off screens. Strong. Can shoot off contact. Per Synergy, posted 0.91 points per pick-and-roll possessions (84th percentile).
  • Tight and shifty handle. Decent wiggle. Comfortable exploiting matchups off the dribble. 
  • Off ball weapon in the half-court. Does not hesitate off the catch. Ranked in the 97th percentile in all catch and shoot jumpers (per Synergy).

WEAKNESSES

  • Below the rim athlete. Cannot elevate to the basket with authority. 
  • Limited three-level scorer. Low scoring efficiency near the rim.
  • Highly exploitable as a man defender. Stiff. Lacks quickness to mirror explosive ball handlers. 
  • Low explosion on the ball. Shifty, but lacks another gear to attack and create for others.
  • Can improve shot selection. Settles for highly contested floaters. Will force the issue and toss up off-balance looks.

FILM HIGHLIGHT

Supreme basketball feel is the name of the game with Cassius Winston. His physical limitations on the ball can be overwhelming. But Winston impacts the game in a variety of different ways. A place to start is in transition. His outstanding passing vision is often the source of easy fast-break opportunities. 

Similar elements play out with Winston operating in the pick-and-roll. Winston is great at navigating screens and manipulating the defense. What he lacks in athleticism he significantly makes up in IQ.

Watch how he maneuvers across a set of screens to find an open look.

Winston is a decisive decision-maker who brings a significant shooting element to the offense. Give him space to operate he will make you pay. Station him on the wing, and he will stretch defenses as a spot-up shooter. 

FIT AND FINAL VERDICT

Cassius Winston is your classic 2nd round prospect. A guy who is going to come into the building and demand little to no attention. His physical limitations are glaring. But Winston adds value as a steady ball-handler to operate off scripted sets.

The Atlanta Hawks appear to be a prime candidate. Atlanta is one of the highest pick-and-roll volume offenses in the NBA. But efficiency is often a problem. Trae Young is tremendous in a variety of ways. But Young could use a savvy back-up to provide steady role minutes to the offense. 

You can find the rest of our draft evaluations below!