Michael Dixon is a realist. At least, that’s the way he’s approaching the NBA Draft.
Dixon, 23, a Lee’s Summit West graduate who played at Missouri for three seasons before finishing his college career at Memphis, knows he’s a long shot to hear his name called among Thursday’s 60 picks.
Still, Dixon has a goal in mind.
“Realistically, I don’t see myself being in the draft,” he said. “I could be wrong. Somebody could take me in the late second round, which would be great. That would ensure me being on a Summer League team, and that’s all I really want.”
Rather than dreaming of NBA riches, Dixon just longs for an opportunity.
“I know I can go out and prove myself in Summer League as long as I get a chance,” Dixon said. “The best-case scenario, I think, would be getting picked up for a Summer League team after the draft. Hopefully, somebody will let me come in for their camp and show that I belong on the Summer League team. I’ll take my career from there.”
Over three seasons at Missouri, Dixon averaged 10.5 points in 101 games. In 2011-12, he averaged 13.5 points off the bench as a junior for a Tigers squad that went 30-5 and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He left school amid sexual assault allegations in November 2012.
After sitting out the 2012-13 season, Dixon resurfaced at Memphis, where he averaged 11.8 points in fewer than 23 minutes per game last season for a Tigers team that finished 24-10 and reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I didn’t have outstanding numbers in college, but I played on a lot of good teams with a lot of good players,” Dixon said. “It was always about winning for me. It was never about individual accolades. But obviously, guys who score a lot and post skyscraper-type statistics are going to get looked at more.”
Nonetheless, Dixon hopes some savvy NBA executive sees value in adding a role player with a will to win. He worked out for the Celtics, Warriors and Kings.
“I’m an experienced player,” Dixon said. “I played for four years in college and improved every year. I think I’ve performed well for the minutes I’ve been given in college. Hopefully, somebody will give me a chance to be part of their team and try to win some games in this upcoming Summer League.”
For the last few months, Dixon has been working at NBA consultant Drew Hanlen’s Pure Sweat development program in Santa Barbara, Calif., along with former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins, UCLA’s Zach LaVine and Nevada’s Deonte Burton among others.
Wiggins is a consensus lottery pick, LaVine’s a consensus first-round pick and Burton is a near lock to go in the second round.
Dixon knows his future is much more ambiguous, but he’s accepted that.
“I’m not nervous at all, just because I know my situation and I know the circumstances,” Dixon said. “I know how it should go, and I’m not unrealistic. It’s not like I’m thinking I’m going to be a first-round draft pick and don’t even make the draft. It’s just not like that.
“For me, it’s a matter of getting an opportunity and taking advantage of it. I’ve got a lot of friends in the draft and a lot of guys that I know, so it’s going to be good to see where everybody ends up. It would be great if I get called in the draft, but I’m not going to be devastated if it doesn’t happen.”
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