Tyler Dorsey: A Big Part of the Hawks’ Future

Tyler Dorsey #2 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tyler Dorsey #2 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Tyler Dorsey made his first NBA start last Wednesday in the Atlanta Hawks’ 104-98 loss to the Pistons in Detroit. In just over 31 minutes of play, the Oregon product tallied nine points, while making four of his eleven field goal attempts. He also added five rebounds, six assists and a steal.

Despite his less than stellar play last night, Dorsey has been slowly showing promise in year one of the Hawks’ free fall into rebuilding. He played major minutes for the first time in his career on November 3rd, posting ten points in almost eighteen minutes on court. Jump forward four months, and Dorsey is one of the key contributors to the Hawks bench.

The 22-year-old leaped up draft boards late in the year last season while leading his Ducks to the Final Four, becoming the leading scorer of the 2017 NCAA Championship Tournament. 

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The eleventh pick of the second round of the 2017 NBA draft, Dorsey muddled through the start of his career, seemingly getting called down to the Erie BayHawks of the G-League weekly. Since December 23rd, however, Dorsey has remained a member of the Hawks.

Atlanta has not had much success in the subsidiary round of the NBA draft, as Dorsey is actually the only current member of the Hawks that the team drafted in the second round (Mike Muscala, though a second-round pick, was actually drafted by Dallas and traded to Atlanta later).

 Now is a good time for Coach Mike Budenholzer to give minutes to some young talent, and see who makes the most of their opportunity. Dorsey has been taking advantage of this, and has been safely in the rotation recently. He’s  played more than 23 minutes in every game he’s played (but one) since February 6th.

As for the future, the fundamentals are already there. He’s become one of Budenholzer’s primary scorers off the bench now that Marco Belinelli has been bought out. He will also look to replace the lockdown shooting from deep that the Hawks have been yearning for since Kyle Korver’s departure. So far, in fairly limited minutes, Dorsey has attempted 2.5 treys a game and is hitting  them at a 36% clip.

His athleticism is something he can build on, already providing some much needed flair and excitement to the season on plays like this one:


And more impressively, this sweet slam off the dribble through traffic:

Hawks fans are already exceedingly excited about athletic freak John Collins, who Hawks’ GM Travis Schlenk selected in the first round of the same draft. Atlanta hasn’t had a truly young and  exciting player since the early years of Josh Smith. Now they have two. The prospect of this duo playing together for a long time is something to get excited about. 

ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 22: John Collins
ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 22: John Collins /

Of course, there are aspects of Tyler’s game that can be improved. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress noted in a July 7th scouting report that Dorsey: “Struggled to finish around the basket. Lacks great strength or length, which makes it difficult for him to convert shots in traffic at times”

This may have something to do with his physical attributes, given how he is only listed at 6 foot 5  and 183 pounds on Basketball-Reference.

Even if his ceiling is a slightly more athletic Kyle Korver, fans should be happy with how the second-rounder is looking thus far. Anyone who can come off the bench and provide solid scoring and athleticism is coveted in this league. Dorsey is already showing signs of being a spark plug for the Hawks second unit.

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Dorsey needs to work on his inside scoring, but the young guard has plenty of time for that. With loads of cap and roster flexibility, the Hawks are destined to look very different from year to year. Being as young as he is talented, Dorsey should be a mainstay of this roster for years to come.