Andre Dawkins: Dark horse of Blazers’ Summer League roster


With only one starter and four role players returning from the 2014-15 lineup, the Portland Trail Blazers are looking for anyone and everyone who can help them in the future.

The first step in that direction is making big signings in free agency. And, while that didn’t exactly happen, Portland has the opportunity to evaluate some of their young talent, especially in the backcourt, during NBA Summer League, which kicks off July 11 in Las Vegas.

The Blazers tried to make the necessary signings to bolster the frontcourt as LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez moved on. That’s all good, but nothing really has been done to help build the Blazers backcourt with Steve Blake and Wesley Matthews also moving on to different teams.

The Blazers are taking a chance on Pat Connaughton, but he’s a rookie and isn’t going to be ready to make a realistic impact for at least a year or two. That leaves Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as the only guards on the roster who have played big minutes. Allen Crabbe has played in some games, but he’s definitely not as far along as McCollum.

That means Portland is looking for guard help from their Summer League roster. Let’s take a look at what they’ve got:

  • Keith Bogans– 11-Year NBA vet
  • Tim Frazier– 1-Year NBA
  • Kenny Cherry- Rookie
  • Karl Cochran- Rookie
  • Pat Connaughton- Rookie
  • Stephen Dennis- Rookie
  • Luis Montero- Rookie
  • Ra’Shad James- Rookie
  • Andre Dawkins– 1-Year NBA

While I’m not necessarily impressed with that guard crew, I think there is one player who could surprise some people and wind up on the Trail Blazers roster next season. Of course, I’m talking about Andre Dawkins.

Honestly, I don’t know if Dawkins is better than most of the guards on the roster, but he’s the best pure shooter. Connaughton could give him a run for his money, but Dawkins can light it up. And, that is exactly what Portland needs.

After bombing threes for Coach K at Duke, Dawkins played for Maine and Sioux Falls in the D-League last season. He was also called up to play for the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat last year as well. For Sioux Falls, Dawkins averaged 19.3 points per game and nailed 45 percent of his 3-point attempts.

Dawkins was easily the best player on the team who wasn’t called up to the Miami Heat multiple times. Despite playing 12-20 games less than the team’s best players, Dawkins finished fourth on the team in scoring. It’s the D-League, I know, but Dawkins can play!

Right now, Dawkins reminds me a lot of McCollum with a smoother stroke, if that’s possible. They aren’t the quickest players at shooting guard, but they use their size and body to get into the lane and create space to finish around the basket.

At this point in his career, Dawkins might not be more than a shooter, but looking at Portland’s roster, the Blazers are going to need some shooting to clear some court space. They lost several shooters this off-season, but have brought in mostly defensively oriented players thus far.

Depending on what the Blazers do the rest of free agency, Dawkins might not make the Blazers’ roster. In fact, it’s pretty likely that he won’t, but if I was to pick a dark horse to make the squad, I think I’d take a player that fills a need for the team. In that case, Dawkins is the guy I’m taking!

Watch for him to light up Las Vegas this Summer League, if given minutes to do so.

Andre Dawkins highlights via NBA D-League

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