Last season was not one where Damyean Dotson was able to make much of an impact. Before it, Dotson and the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to terms on a two-year, $4 million deal, with the second year set to be non-guaranteed.
Whether or not injuries early on did play into it, Dotson did aid Cleveland in some ways early on, and I give him credit for how he filled in some then as a de facto primary playmaker for stretches of games. He appeared to be a capable ball-mover last season in other times when he was regularly involved, and on the year, he had a career-best assist rate of 16.1 percent.
Unfortunately for Dotson and the Cavaliers, he wasn’t able to find a rhythm as a perimeter shooter for the majority of the campaign. And whether it was it being more on-ball than he should’ve been ideally early, or just not hitting open looks, it was a rough year.
He shot a career-low 28.9 percent from three-point range, and that was tough to see, as coming into last season, I thought he could’ve given the Cavs a lift for spurts/stretches in that way. It didn’t materialize, though, and with the struggles Dotson had and uncertainty, it wasn’t surprising that he was waived on Friday. That was per a report from Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
This move was best for both the Cavs and Dotson, too.
Dotson again hit sub-29.0 percent from three on 3.5 attempts per game, which even with him likely out of his element a bit in the early going last season, was disappointing. One could’ve anticipated him eventually not being back late last season, too.
Even with RJ Barrett’s arrival in 2019-20, Dotson did still help the New York Knicks then as a movement shooter/floor spacer, and he did provide some occasional shot creation in bench minutes.
In 2018-19, Dotson did have a bigger role for New York than the year following, but in a general sense, when he was regularly a rotational contributor, he did prove to be a quality shooter. That wasn’t the case much with Cleveland, simply put.
He appeared to be out of sorts often, whereas at least with the Knicks, he did 36.8 and 36.2 percent from three on 4.7 and 3.4 attempts per outing in 2018-19 and 2019-20, respectively. And plenty of those were movement looks.
An ankle injury earlier in the season wasn’t ideal, either, but given the lack of shooting consistency/viability from him throughout much of last season from deep, and others in the fold, it seemed unlikely that he’d be back. Knee soreness in the later stages of the year didn’t help, for what it’s worth.
Plus, Dylan Windler could’ve potentially been cutting into his opportunities, and Cleveland later on Friday after waiving Dotson signed Denzel Valentine, who they hope could benefit from a change of scenery.
Additionally, although it’s not certain as to which club/possibly clubs could end up having interest in Dotson right now, with the circumstances surrounding last season, and with Cleveland’s injuries throughout, other teams could maybe take a flyer on Dotson. That could feasibly aid him, with the Cavs waiving him when they did prior to training camp set to begin later this month.
Last season was a forgettable one and a difficult one for Dotson, but with potentially a productive training camp elsewhere, perhaps he could make his case for making a team elsewhere heading into the upcoming year.
He has proven to be a more than capable perimeter shooter with the Knicks, and at least Cleveland letting him go before camp could help get him maybe some workouts with a different/teams, which could lead to a camp deal. Or maybe another team-friendly flyer could ensue.
From the Cavs’ standpoint again however, a spot for Dotson didn’t seem sensible, with the others involved, and his role being anything but clear, if he were to have stuck around.
All in all, Cleveland waiving the 27-year-old Dotson was the best scenario for both sides, as opposed to say keeping him around through preseason or maybe waiving him in-season. It was again not a shocker though, and he was not reportedly expected to make the team following camp, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.