|Dunk face.|Asauhn Dixon-Tatum
, Auburn, Senior, 7'0 226lbs2013/14 stats:
22.5 mpg, 6.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 0.4 apg, 0.3 spg, 3.5 fpg, 1.4 TOpg, 57.5% FG, 66.7% FT
Passing largely under the radar after only two years on a poor Auburn team, Dixon-Tatum nevertheless improved enough as a senior to suggest a pro career is a real possibility. One of the better athletes on this list, and certainly one of the longest, Dixon-Tatum's physical profile is pretty much the crux of his game, moreso than any skillset, yet it is suitably rare of a profile to make this worthwhile.
A very productive shotblocker and rebounder, Dixon-Tatum runs the court well for a big man and can be a disruptive presence in the lane with his length. Tall, long and bouncy, he is a pest in the paint when plugged in, contesting everything and bothering everyone, attacking the glass and keeping the ball alive. He is so long he can block his man in one on one defense, his long thin arms seemingly cropping up everywhere. He is not, however, always plugged in, with a knack for disappearing for stretches during games, or even for stretches of games. Dixon-Tatum nevertheless assuaged this tendency a bit as an upper classman, as well as (fouls and turnover rate increases notwithstanding) making slightly fewer mistakes.
Beyond his athletic profile, many questions remain. Dixon-Tatum rarely gets touches on the ball, and when he does, he looks flustered. He is limited to being a screener and a garbage man on offense, who never handles, creates, posts or plays the pick and roll, limited to putbacks, finishes off dump passes and transition offense. He shows no passing vision, little jumpshot and is too easily stripped, his efficiency coming from his lack of skill more than skill (if that makes sense). There are also questions about his physical profile - being as slender as he is, ADT is pushed around by those with girth, and it need not be the Tarik Black tank types to do it. Against quality oppostion in one on one post defense, he is a foul waiting to happen, pushed through as though he isn't there and resorted to hacking and grabbing to compensate. It would have helped markedly had Auburn had a rugged post defender to draw these matchups, along with a point guard who could regularly push the ball and any semblance of floor spacing, all of which would have helped Dixon-Tatum markedly in the middle, yet the concerns remain, all tied to his lack of development.
Dixon-Tatum would be very enticing had this been the completion of his freshman season. Unfortunately, he just turned 23, an age at which rawness needs to be pretty much eliminated. Nevertheless, any 7 footer this athletic will stick around for a while, and rightly so - Dixon-Tatum tantalises and at times wows, and he is worth the investment for those moments. He is also unmistakably productive in his small role, and will surely get his.