Jeffrey Dowtin Jr. was given the biggest opportunity of his NBA career this season. After some stellar play in his time with the Toronto Raptors summer league team, he was offered a two way deal with Toronto which he accepted. He took this deal and parlayed it into become a part of Toronto’s future according to Masai Ujiri.
During his end of season presser, Masai Ujiri spoke of Dowtin glowingly when he said “Jeff is part of this team, is going to be part of this team in the future, Jeff has been here every day… I think the overall view of this is Jeff is part of our future.” This quote came after Masai was asked why Dowtin was not given a guaranteed deal so he could help the team out in the final stretch of the season when he used up all his two way games. Dowtin had shown some promise on the court and it was inexplicable as to why Toronto would just let his deal run out.
When you look at Dowtin’s box score stats they are by no means awe-inspiring. In 10.4 minutes per game this season he averaged 2.4 points, 1.2 assists and 1 rebound per game and shot 44 percent from the field on 2.3 attempts per game and 31 percent from three on 0.6 attempts per game. So clearly Dowtin was no offensive juggernaut. However, he did do some good things offensively such as cutting, he often pushed the pace in transition, and occasionally he showed off his speed on the ball, so it’s clear there is something to work with offensively when it comes to development. Oftentimes it felt like Dowtin could’ve been more aggressive though, taking guys off the dribble more because it was clear he could put pressure on the rim with his speed. His shooting mechanics aren’t the best but he isn’t going to be a prolific floor spacer so the occasional three will suffice. At times he would get into a pull-up mid range shot if the defense sagged off of him too much, this will be a key counter for him to use as he develops offensively moving forward.
Early on he would be used as a garbage time guy but as time progressed he began to get rotation minutes, albeit his playing time was inconsistent under former head coach Nick Nurse but he was able to earn the minutes he did because of the impact he was making on the defensive end. Dowtin’s used his great lateral quickness and overall speed to his advantage en route to being one of the best point-of-attack defenders on the team. Dowtin was hounding guards during his minutes and this was a breath of fresh air because Fred VanVleet took a step back as a defender for a large chunk of the season. So for Dowtin to come in and have such a noticeable impact on the defensive end turned a lot of heads and was most importantly, well-needed on the team.
Moving forward, Dowtin will most likely receive a guaranteed deal and be a mainstay in the Raptors bench rotation. The part that is unclear is how much he will improve offensively. With a new head coach in Darko Rajakovic who upon first impression seems to be geared towards making Toronto have a free flowing high ball movement structured offense, Dowtin may be able to find himself more opportunity to score. Jeff Dowtin Jr. is an under the radar type player but it’s clear he’s a hard worker who can defend well and has a lot of upside on offense as well, now we wait and see how he develops as a part of the Toronto Raptors future.