Is Michigan State’s Branden Dawson headed to the NBA?


No one seems to think that Michigan State’s Branden Dawson could be a solid NBA prospect as most mock drafts have him dropping through both rounds undrafted. Tom Izzo says otherwise, thinking he could definitely get a spot on an NBA team.

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At 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, he has the athleticism and wingspan (6-foot-10) needed for the next level; He’ll be viewed as a guy who can virtually guard all five positions on the court and can absolutely rebound the ball with his outrageous jumping ability. However, his offensive game is why most teams are hesitant on him, which is why he is projected going in the late-second round of the NBA Draft.

Four years after coming to Michigan State as a McDonald’s All-American, Dawson will likely face an uphill battle into the NBA next year.

Like most, Dawson will have to work for his draft spot, but Tom Izzo has said there’s definitely interest in him, just not enough to hold faith for. One thing he’ll need to work on in his mid-range shooting. In his college career Dawson had only attempted nine total three pointers, making none of them. It’s difficult to find a time in the past 20 years of a wing player who didn’t make a single 3-pointer in four seasons of college basketball who ended up being drafted.

Of course, he doesn’t need to be one of those guys who can shoot anyone out of the gym, but a player who can hit the big shots and always keep the defender on his heels.

“He can defend it, no question about that. I think the advantages to open practices are you get to see that he has improved,” said Izzo. “You watch him shoot free throws at the end of the year, it’s not even close. You watch him shoot jump shots, it’s not even close. There’s the still the consistency factor. But I see this group at the next level that drafts guys on potential. And Branden Dawson’s not only got potential, but he’s, just because a year or two older than some, also had those injuries that set him back some.”

Apr 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard/forward Branden Dawson (22) shoots a three-point shot over Duke Blue Devils forward

Justise Winslow

(12) in the first half of the 2015 NCAA Men

His senior season for the Michigan State Spartans definitely was the best of his four-year college career.

He had a career high in points, blocks, steals, assists and rebounds coming from the offensive and defensive end. Averaging 11 points per game during the 2014-2015 season, he proved to be an inside presence that every team needed to be aware of. His leaping ability is something to also keep an eye out for. You blink, he’s dunking over you. BJ is one of those guys who can just leap right out of the building.

While he’s no slouch on offense, his defense is just as good, if not better. He accounted for 58 blocks and 42 swipes during the entire season and per 40 minutes he averaged 2.2 blocks along with 1.2 steals per game, Izzo said his defense and hard work alone is what makes him an NBA prospect and future NBA player.

Izzo truly believes that he will hear Dawson’s name called on June 25, 2015, in the NBA Draft and so do I. Whoever gets him is getting a true blue-collared, hustle player. Will make any team happy for years to come.

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