Gamecocks Basketball: Checking In On Former South Carolina Star PJ Dozier

When PJ Dozier was at South Carolina, he was the star point guard who helped lead the Gamecocks to their first ever Final Four appearance. When he declared for the 2017 NBA draft, nobody knew what would happen to him in the pros.

South Carolina hasn’t exactly had the best history of players in the NBA outside of Alex English.

In 2017, Dozier bounced around from the Lakers to the Mavericks to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even since then, he’s spent time in the G-league as part of the Celtics and moved on to the Sixers in the 2019 Summer League. He didn’t really make a name for himself until he signed with the Denver Nuggets in late 2019.

Dozier spent time in the G-League with the Windy City Bulls where he really impressed everyone. He only played 18 games with the Bulls, but he averaged 21.4 points per game, 7.7 assists per game, 7.6 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game. His performance made him a G-League All Star in 2019.

In early 2020, he earned a call up to the Denver Nuggets. Last season, he averaged 5.8 points per game and 2.2 assists per game in 29 games off the bench. He also played 10 minutes per game off the bench in the playoffs last year. The Nuggets were knocked out by the Lakers in the Western Conference Final last year.

This Year, Dozier has seen his playing time and production increase. He went from playing 14.2 minutes per game to 21.8 minutes per game over 50 games. He also started six games when Jamal Murray went down.

In the regular season, he averaged 7.7 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game. Dozier’s best game this year was against the Rockets on April 24. He finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks over almost 28 minutes. He shot 76.9 percent in that game.

The Nuggets have locked up the number three seed in the West again, but they were without Dozier in their first game against Portland. According to Nuggets coach Michael Malone, Dozier isn’t close to returning to the lineup yet.

The Nuggets lost game one, and they’ll have to rely heavily on MVP favorite Nikola Jokic to lead them further into the playoffs.

Dozier has been the most consistent Gamecock in the NBA among current players. Both Sindarius Thornwell and Chris Silva have been trying to find their place among NBA rosters, but Dozier has found himself in a stable position for the first time in his young NBA career. His development as a pure point guard has really helped him establish his place in the NBA.

Dozier is contracted through 2022, and his development over the next year will decide where he ends up. With Jamal Murray in front of him on the roster, Dozier will have to really impress if he wants to get a starting job somewhere else.

The good news for Dozier is Murray will most likely be out for a majority of the next season with a torn ACL. This means Dozier will have a real chance to start next year.

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