22 - Branden Dawson

6-7, 230 Small Forward/Power Forward
Michigan St. Senior
02/01/93 (28.8 yrs)
Gary, IN
High School
Lew Wallace
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling
71 Overall:

NBA Comparison: Justin Reed

Strengths: Dawson, when on his game, is a physical presence at the 4 who crashes the boards hard, defends several positions well, and provides  steady leadership on the floor…Great rebounder, particularly on the offensive glass.  Pursues misses tenaciously, boxes out well with his muscular frame, and gets a lot of putback baskets for himself…Dawson is a versatile defender, who, in college, could guard three or four positions, and while he may be more limited defensively in the pros, his strength and solid length (6’11" wingspan) allows him to guard post players and his athleticism allows him to defend on the perimeter to an extent…As a power forward, Dawson has enough of a face-up game to be effective offensively.  Can attack the basket against slower defenders and has a nice little turnaround jumper within 10 feet.  Shot an excellent 54% from the field last season…Strong finisher at the basket, especially in transition, where he converted on 75% of his attempts…Fairly explosive athlete who has shown the ability to finish above the rim…Has an NBA ready physique.  Very muscular, weighing 230 lbs. while standing at only 6’7".  Uses his strength to his advantage in establishing post position and rebounding position…Smart defender.  Thanks in part to the tutelage of Tom Izzo, Dawson is an alert help defender who rarely gets caught out of position…Great teammate and leader.  4-year guy who helped lead his team to an unexpected Final Four…

Weaknesses: Intensity and motor seem to vary even within a single game.  Plays very tough and tenacious basketball when he’s on, but when he’s not as engaged, he gets bumped around in the post, shoots poorly, and really disappears from games.  Has scored 7 or fewer points 15 different times in the past two seasons despite being a big part of the Spartans’ offense.  Peak Dawson would be a near-lock to hear his name on draft day.  But Dawson isn’t always playing at his peak and it could cost him…Physically, Dawson is a bit of a tweener.  He’s strong, smart, and tenacious, but he’s still only a 6’7" power forward.  Suffered a knee injury early in his college career, and never seemed to fully rebound to the elite athlete he was prior… At the combine, he posted the lowest lane agility time of any player, indicating that he lacks the lateral quickness to consistently guard the small forward position at the NBA level.  His defensive versatility won’t be nearly as much of an asset at the next level…Lacks shooting range.  Didn’t hit a single three-pointer in college (out of 8 attempts), which currently limits him from playing the 3…Awful free throw shooter. 49% from the stripe this season…Limited lateral quickness may hamper him when defending the pick-and-roll…Posted the second-slowest shuttle run speed at the combine.  Slow to accelerate, which will further hamper him defensively…For a guy looking to be an NBA power forward, Dawson’s post game is very limited.  In the pros, he won’t be able to rely on his strength to overpower defenders, and he doesn’t have many moves at all to get looks at the rim…

Notes: Named Second Team All-Big Ten and First Team All-Big Ten defender…

Overall: Dawson is undoubtedly a tweener forward, but his strength, smarts, motor, and athleticism will get him looks.  He doesn’t always look or play engaged on the court, however, which really puts his draft status in jeopardy…

Jacob Stallard 5/22/15