On September 17, 2022, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced that they were signing combo guard Perry (PJ) Dozier Jr to their lineup.
After spending the previous three years with the Denver Nuggets, where he averaged 6.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, and a shade under two assists in 96 games, Dozier is once again reuniting with former Nuggets President of Basketball Operations, now new Timberwolves president, Tim Connelly.
The last time fans saw the twenty-five-year-old guard was in November 2021 before he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
Free agent PJ Dozier is signing a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, sources tell ESPN. Dozier is coming back from a December 2021 ACL injury. Dozier played with Denver under new Wolves president Tim Connelly.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 17, 2022
With Connelly now at the helm of the Timberwolves, Minnesota has made multiple roster changes this offseason in hopes of making a second consecutive trip to the playoffs. Since the final buzzer went off in the Timberwolves’ first-round playoff loss last season to the Memphis Grizzlies, their team looks a lot different.
Gone are Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Leandro Bomaro, three of which played a significant role for the Wolves last season, and in their place are Rudy Gobert, Kyle Anderson, Bryn Forbes, Austin Rivers, Eric Paschall, C.J. Elleby, Luka Garza, rookie Wendell Moore Jr., and Dozier.
Is it enough to boost the Timberwolves’ odds for the 2022 season?
Powerful. Relentless. Bold.
It's our time to make a 𝐒𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭. pic.twitter.com/xuTZYfhzUO
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) September 15, 2022
What He Did
Coming out of South Carolina where he played just two seasons for the Gamecocks, Dozier went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft.
After signing a pair of free agent contracts with the LA Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks in the summer, Dozier would ultimately end up inking a two-way deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dozier’s NBA experience as a rookie would be limited to two games and three total minutes of action.
Once again a free agent, Dozier would sign a two-way contract with the Boston Celtics but would spend most of his time with their G-League club, the Maine Celtics.
After six games and fifty-one minutes of floor time, Dozier would once again find himself without a team On August 13, 2019, the Nuggets would ink the 6’6, 205lb guard to yet another two-way contract that would eventually become a regular deal in the summer of 2020.
It wouldn’t be until his second season in the “Mile High City” that Dozier would play a significant role, appearing in fifty games and averaging over twenty minutes of play when he got on the court.
Although he had bided his time and earned his increased role, Dozier would then be traded by the Nuggets in January 2022 as part of a three-team trade with the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, which involved Dozier and forward Bol Bol heading to Beantown. After not playing a minute with the Celtics, Dozier would find himself on the move once again, this time being traded and then immediately waived by the Orlando Magic.
PJ Dozier is signing a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, per @wojespn.
Dozier is coming back from a torn ACL suffered last November. pic.twitter.com/kwX3vNqo2S
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) September 17, 2022
What Can He Do
Although his NBA sample size has been limited, Dozier has been around the block long enough to be defined as an NBA veteran who has the ability to either pilot the offense or play off the ball.
When the Wolves signed Dozier to an Exhibit 10 deal it was seen as a low-risk non-guaranteed contract as it is a minimum salary, one-year contract that could be transformed into a two-way deal.
Considering he is coming back to full health after his knee injury, this deal serves both Dozier and the Wolves well as he could spend time getting back into NBA game shape with the Iowa Wolves.
Known as a strong guard/wing defender thanks to his athletic ability and near seven-foot wing span, Dozier could find himself as the second or third guard/wing coming off the bench, especially if he can improve his three-point shooting percentage.
Solid get on PJ Dozier for #Timberwolves on Exhibit 10 contract. Another reminder: There are more NBA players than standard deals available. I recall Jokic after Den. lost in playoffs citing how much PJ was missed. Had left ACL reconstruction early Dec. pic.twitter.com/vogOYadabD
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) September 17, 2022
A Look Ahead
We’ve heard it before, the Timberwolves are one of the most exciting and upcoming teams in the NBA this season, especially with the majority of their roster being twenty-six years of age or younger. Unfortunately, that comment has repeatedly fallen short of expectations.
With a 46-36 record in 2021-22, the Wolves had their first winning season and a trip to the playoffs since 2017-2018 and appear to have the makings of a team that should not only be able to compete with the Denver Nuggets for the Northwest Division title but a second straight trip to the playoffs, which hasn’t happened since the early 2000s.
While the Timberwolves have twenty players signed to their roster heading into training camp, Dozier has a fighting chance to secure a spot on the team’s fifteen-player opening night roster.
Credits on Featured Image: Amy Meredith on Flickr