In the 2017 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected John Collins with the No. 19 overall pick and the fan base immediately fell in love. Collins is playing his way into rookie of the year conversations this season; however, he was not the only selection the Hawks made in the draft. The Hawks also selected a guard, Tyler Dorsey, out of Oregon with the No. 41 overall pick who naturally didn’t receive and hasn’t received the same name recognition that Collins has garnered in his first NBA season and it is time for fans to know just who Dorsey is.
Dorsey is originally from Pasadena, California, where he attended high school and won multiple state championships, capturing the 2015 Gatorade State Player of the Year honors for California. He was originally committed to the University of Arizona, but moved his letter to Oregon early in 2015.
In his freshman year of college Dorsey was outstanding, posting multiple 20-point scoring efforts and leading the Ducks to win the Pac-12 regular season and Pac-12 tournament. He was the top scorer in the tournament and in the clinching game, as a freshman, dropped 23 points, which sealed Oregon’s spot as the number one seed in the West region heading into March Madness. After the season, Dorsey initially declared for the 2016 draft, but withdrew his name for one more season at Oregon.
Dorsey’s sophomore campaign was even better than the first and he once again led Oregon to the Pac-12 conference tournament final before losing to Arizona by three points in the championship game. He led the conference tournament in scoring as he and Oregon turned their attention to the bigger stage of March Madness once again. The Ducks, without one of their best players, went on to beat the odds and worked their way into the Final Four, reaching that point in the tournament for the first time since 1939, before losing to the eventual champion, North Carolina. Dorsey was especially ridiculous in the Ducks run, hitting big shot after big shot from three and showing an ability to create off the dribble as well. Dorsey declared for the 2017 draft where the Hawks snatched him up with their second round pick.
The Hawks debuted Dorsey at the 2017 Summer League, where he played sparingly, averaging just 12 minutes over three games with 2.6 PPG and 1.3 rebounds. Atlanta began the regular season with Dorsey on the roster and he saw his first two minutes of action at the end of the second game against Charlotte, but was unable to get in the scoring column that game. Dorsey was finally able to score in his fifth career NBA game when he saw nearly 18 minutes of action at the end of a losing affair against Houston. He scored 10 points in that limited action including going 2-of-4 from beyond the three-point line. After Dorsey’s sixth game in which he saw playing time, the Hawks decided to send him down to their G League affiliate in Erie to get regular playing time to aid his development.
Since moving down to Erie, Dorsey has been back and forth to Atlanta four more times and overall has played very well for the Bayhawks. During his time in basketball’s minor leagues, Dorsey has posted a stat-stuffed scorecard of 19 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.5 APG and 1.4 steals in over 33 minutes a game. Dorsey is also hitting 3.5 three pointers per game at a 43 percent clip for Erie. However, the Hawks already knew he could score, and were really more interested in focusing his development in ball handling and on defense, albeit against G League competition, which Dorsey has done beautifully. Every game Dorsey plays for the Bayhawks, fans can take away something new from his game that he showcases including post-ups, running the offense as a point guard, showing off his handle and raining down three pointers.
So as Dorsey continues to wait for an opportunity to get more playing time in Atlanta, he’s making very clear that he is an impact prospect as much as anyone else in the 2017 class. It’s also great to see the Hawks, a team that has to find talent through the draft, hit on prospects that are going to be integral in the future of the team. After drafting Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry in 2016 they have followed up with Collins and Dorsey in 2017 and all four are looking like NBA contributors in the near future. Although Collins is getting regular playing time, watch out for Mr. Dorsey, as he’s knocking on the door of the rotation to make sure everyone knows what he’s capable of for the Hawks.