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Knicks rookie Damyean Dotson tries to stay upbeat despite limited opportunities

Knicks rookie Damyean Dotson looks on during against

Knicks rookie Damyean Dotson looks on during against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 13, 2017. Credit: Jim McIsaac

As the Knicks’ season winds down, rookie Damyean Dotson is still waiting for his shot.

Dotson could have seen some minutes the past two games, but a right foot injury left him frustrated on the bench. He believes he’ll be back this week, and hopes he can be one of the Knicks’ young players who sees a jump in minutes.

“Eventually I’ll get my time on the court and I can show what I can do,” Dotson said.

A second-round pick out of Houston, Dotson has played more minutes for the Knicks’ G League team (461) than their NBA squad (327). This was not unexpected, though.

There are several players ahead of the 23-year-old swingman in the rotation, including Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas. The Knicks, who play in Philadelphia Wednesday, also are trying to give minutes to recently signed forward Troy Williams to evaluate him.

The backcourt suddenly is crowded as well since Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay are sharing the bulk of the minutes at both guard spots. But now is the time that Dotson, when healthy, seemingly should play more.

“We do have a lot of guys at that position,” Jeff Hornacek said. “It’s still tough [that he got hurt]. To get minutes, even if it’s five or six or eight or 10, it’s still beneficial for him. It’s unfortunate. We expect him back in the next few games.”

Hornacek views the 6-6 Dotson as a shooting guard, but he said he has the strength to play small forward. Hornacek also has praised Dotson for how hard he works and fights through screens, and believes his mental toughness and attitude are assets.

Yet since the Knicks began going with more of a youth movement after the All-Star break, Dotson has played an average of 8.5 minutes over 12 games, with one DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision), one G League assignment and two missed games because of the sprained right foot.

Over that same span two-way players Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks have averaged 14.6 and 12.9 minutes, respectively.

The Knicks (27-48) have only seven games remaining. So time is running out for Dotson to show his development since the start of the season and what he gained from his G League stints, where he averaged 18.2 points over 35.5 minutes in 13 games.

“The whole year I’ve been back and forth, back and forth, nothing consistent,” Dotson said. “I think I had a pretty good game in the G League the last game before [injuring] my foot. I feel like I was getting the hang of things, getting a rhythm. I’d come in, hit a couple of shots, get some assists, play pretty good.

“For me it’s all about confidence and knowing things will get better if I keep working.”

Known for his shooting and defense, Dotson is averaging 2.9 points and making just 31.1 percent of his three-pointers. But it’s hard to get in a rhythm when he’s playing so few minutes. Dotson has played 15 minutes or more just one time since Dec. 10.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I just came in and tried to work as hard as I could. It’s all about development. That’s what they keep preaching, ‘Development. Development. Just go down there and develop.’ I think I learned a lot about myself this year.”

Dotson said being inactive, assigned to the G League and suiting up and not playing challenged him mentally. But he believes everything will pay off. He said his offseason plan is play in the summer league and spend time in New York working and improving.

“Just keep developing,” he said. “Whatever I need to do, I know I have a few things I need to work on. If they want me here, I’ll be here, I’ll be around.”

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