It is an almost incredible turn of events that the best Knicks prospect out of the 2017 draft has become second-round swingman Damyean Dotson — not lottery-pick point guard Frank Ntilikina.
In the past three games, Dotson is averaging a team-high 18 points on 67.8 percent shooting — 71.4 percent from 3-point range — and 3.3 rebounds. Dotson has come on even stronger since coach David Fizdale randomly gave him four straight DNPs from Nov. 20 to Nov. 25.
Dotson’s trade value appears on the uptick. Teams started inquiring about Dotson’s availability during his recent DNP streak. The Post reported last week that at least two teams had inquired.
According to a source, the two clubs that have shown the most interest are the Pistons and Nets.
The Knicks will have a decision to make with Dotson’s contract. It is peculiar, as it has a non-guaranteed final year next season, worth $1.62 million.
The Knicks will have until July 15 — in the midst of free agency — to guarantee the contract. Or they can cut ties much sooner if they need the extra cap room to open up a max salary slot. Dotson also could be packaged in a bigger deal, say, to get rid of Courtney Lee’s pact.
Dotson, a Phil Jackson draft pick who had two DNPs to start the season and didn’t play until Kevin Knox went down in the third game, is proving to be a “3 and D” rotation fixture.
He’s already played more minutes — 508 to 474 — than his rookie year, when he seemed to be regarded by new GM Scott Perry as a Jackson/Clarence Gaines Jr. selection.
Sources believe Dotson slipped to the second round partially because of the shadowy details of an alleged sexual assault that got him kicked out of Oregon. However, Dotson, who transferred to Houston, was nearly taken by the Lakers at 27, according to a source. The Lakers did very well with Kyle Kuzma.
Fizdale seems content with his current starting lineup despite the obvious move of Dotson inserted at small forward for offensively struggling Mario Hezonja. Fizdale has said that, after the 25-game mark, he would have a set lineup, so the group that starts in Boston on Thursday on TNT will be noteworthy.
Fizdale has been impressed by the consistency of Dotson, 24, through his up-and-down playing time. Dotson is averaging 11.7 points on 47.3 percent shooting.
“I just think he keeps a clear head about everything,” Fizdale said. “I think he really has a way of compartmentalizing being in and out of the rotation no matter how many minutes he’s playing. He just kind of finds a way to keep himself ready. And that’s a real talent. I don’t know how many people can do that and handle it the way he does.”
How Ntilikina handles his current demotion remains to be seen. He has been a DNP the past two games after two straight scoreless outings. The offensive analytics are lousy. Not only is he shooting 33 percent, but the Knicks score 8.7 fewer points per 100 possessions when he’s on the court, according to The Athletic.
After sitting out with a neck injury, Lee finally made his season debut on Monday night, playing 15 minutes and scoring seven points. Eventually the Knicks hope to trade Lee, though it is Ntilikina who has received interest from a handful of teams, sources confirm.
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