As the 2019-20 NBA season ends and the Los Angeles Lakers start their championship celebration, the 2020 NBA Draft moves into the spotlight for teams looking to grow their roster and add young talent in the offseason. The draft is set to take place Nov. 18, and that date couldn’t come any sooner for former Jayhawks Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike.
Dotson and Azubuike had their season cut short by COVID-19 in March, right before the 2020 Big 12 tournament was about to tip off. Many fans thought the 2019-20 Kansas men's basketball team was destined for success in March and would have helped build draft stock for the two.
Now that all potential draft picks are on the same playing field, nobody knows what to expect on draft night.
Last season, Dotson tested the waters in the NBA, working out with several teams and getting a better feel for the NBA Draft process. During a recent media availability, he talked about the impact of those workouts and time with NBA coaches.
“It was very beneficial for this year,” Dotson said, “going through that process and knowing what to expect.”
NBA teams know what Dotson can bring to the floor. He averaged a team-high 18.1 points and 2.1 steals per game last season. He was the leader on offense and always looked to push the pace using his elite speed. Dotson can bring energy and lead on both ends of the floor, as well as control the pace of games.
The biggest improvement that can boost Dotson’s stock is his three-point shooting skills, especially with it being such an essential part of the NBA game. Last season, Dotson shot about 31% from beyond the arc, and his shooting stroke has been a focal point leading up to the draft.
As for Azubuike, he is an interesting prospect who does not fit into the “typical” NBA game plan. A 7-foot, 270-pound center who is dominant in the paint is not seen as much in the NBA, but Azubuike will be looking to change that narrative.
The statistic that stands out the most when looking at Azubuike’s skills is his Division I-leading 74.8% shooting percentage. But Azubuike has a deep bag of tricks that consists of more than just dunks. His jump hooks and pivots looked faster than ever this past season after he slimmed down 25 pounds before the 2019-20 season.
The preseason weight loss also translated to the defensive side, allowing him to now guard multiple positions on the floor. In his sophomore year, it was a tricky scenario for Azubuike when teams switched him onto guards. Now, he is more nimble and able to keep up with faster guards, which will translate well to the NBA game.
Being such a raw prospect will excite scouts because he still has so much he can improve upon. Azubuike has a lot of upside and could be a steal if he is put in the right situation during the late rounds of the draft.
Both Dotson and Azubuike are projected to be mid-second round picks on multiple mock drafts, but don’t be surprised if Dotson moves up to the top half of the second round. A lot of teams need guard depth — specifically playmakers in the second unit. Dotson could fill that role perfectly.
He will be someone that can come off the bench and energize a second unit with his pace of play and leadership. That is an asset to any team, and something that scouts will be looking for come November.
Dotson and Azubuike will be looking to join other recently drafted former Jayhawks like Devonte’ Graham, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre and Joel Embiid in the NBA. It will be exciting to see the duo of Dotson and Azubuike at the next level after amazing careers at Kansas.