Q&A: Andre Dawkins on Being Waived, Playing For Heat, D-League


After going unselected in the NBA Draft, Andre Dawkins had something to prove. He got a spot on the Miami Heat’s summer league team, where he played well enough to earn a spot on Miami’s preseason roster. Miami saw enough from him to give him a shot on the 15-man regular season squad.

After being moved up and down between the Heat and the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the team’s D-League affiliate, Dawkins was waived in January. He appeared in just four games for the Heat, most recently in garbage time against the Houston Rockets on January 3, three days before getting cut. He scored his one and only NBA basket on November 17, a 3-pointer in a win against the Brooklyn Nets.

Dawkins is a key part of the Skyforce offense now. Against the Texas Legends on December 20, he scored 42 points, including hitting 12 of 15 3-pointers. He’s averaging nearly 54 percent from long range and 24 points per game.

During the NBA D-League Showcase in Santa Cruz, Dawkins talked with AllUCanHeat.com about going undrafted, getting a spot on the defending Eastern Conference champion roster and what it was like getting waived.

You went to Duke, down to Miami, now South Dakota. So good barbecue, good Cuban food. What’s South Dakota, what’s the food there?

A lot of takeout. Just all takeout.

Like McDonalds?

Nah I can’t eat that stuff. You know, pizza places, Chinese. You know, takeout, delivery, something.

You’ve had games where you’ve hit 12 3-pointers, you’re shooting 54 percent on the season. What’s it like when you just got it falling? What’s that feel like?

It feels good. That’s just hard work. Putting in a lot of work after practice on my own. Things like that just so I feel good and I go out there with a lot of confidence. When it’s going down it feels great. Great feeling.

You came on really strong during the summer league, especially your 3-point shooting, and you ended up getting that 15th roster spot after going undrafted out of Duke. What was that like? Was that reassuring of your own abilities?

I knew I could play basketball. Obviously going undrafted on draft night is disappointing. You only get one chance to get drafted. That was disappointing but, at the same time, I also had confidence in my abilities. I know I just had to go out and prove it. It’s a long journey through college then going undrafted and trying to make it. Going from summer league and doing that and then finally being on the team. It was really gratifying. Just looking back and everything I went through, the hard work I put in paying off, so that was a cool moment for me.

You’re on the Heat and you don’t really play that much, only four games. Was that frustrating not seeing the court that much?

Nah that was more so just putting in work, taking the time to really just work on my game. I knew they were gonna send me down every now and then so that was what I was kind of preparing for.

Did they give you that inclination that you would bounce around a little bit?

Yeah they said they would send me down here and there. I was just working trying to get better. If my number happened to be called I was going to be ready for the opportunity but, you know, it was just a good opportunity to work, focus on skill development. It was pretty much offseason for me. I was lifting a lot, extra conditioning. It was a good segment for me to get better individually.

Must be nice when you get here though and you’re a key part of the offense and getting your shots in.

Yeah obviously it’s a lot different than playing in Miami. You got to play a lot of minutes, when the ball in coming you got to make shots and make plays for people. So, you know, it’s a little bit different but it’s fun to get out, get up and down the court and show my abilities.

You’re there in the beginning of the season–McRoberts is healthy with Bosh–so they’re trying to run a lot of stuff from the elbow. When Chalmers, Cole and Wade are in the game they did a lot of dribble handoffs with McRoberts and Bosh on the elbow and they tended to curl around the screen and keep going. I thought with you there was an opportunity to curl off and hit the 3-pointer. What that something you guys worked on in practice?

Yeah actually going back to Duke, especially the last year I was there, we ran a lot of handoffs for 3’s so it was something I was comfortable with in practice and working out on my own. It was something I worked on a lot. So I’m comfortable coming off the dribble hand off and shooting. So if my name was ever called I was ready to go and bring a little bit of a different dynamic to those kind of triggers.

With the Heat they seemed like they were setting you up for 3-point shots a lot but here they show a willingness to put you in the post. Your first two shots tonight were off the dribble. Is that something you feel you can do consistently?

The post is something I’m trying to add with me being a little bit stronger. Teams have been trying to put smaller guards on me so I try to punish them, make them put a bigger sized guard on me. But it’s something you got to keep working on and get better at. Shooting off the dribble is something I have to add to my game, continue to get better at and be more efficient with. It’s something I’m working on, you just got to keep at it, and hopefully I’m more of a scorer than shooter.

You go from Coach K, to Spo, now Coach Weber. Is strong coaching something you seek out?

Definitely. Definitely good to have strong coaches, coaches who hate losing, who aren’t satisfied with sub-par basketball. It makes players better and I think the experience is better. I think they did a great job hiring coach Web. A lot of NBA experience. He’s going to push you and try to get the best out of you. Same with Spo. Obviously the same with Coach K. I’ve been lucky to have those coaches the last five or six years. It’s pretty cool and I look forward to continuing to work with Coach Web as long as I’m here and keep learning.

Does [Assistant Coach Chris] Quinn help you a lot? Is he helping you with off the dribble stuff and ball handling?

Yeah Quinn’s been good. Obviously he’s got a lot of experience in the NBA playing-wise, so I kind of pick his brain a little bit. Him being a point guard he’s helping me learn a few things–how to come off pick-and-rolls and make plays for other people and add that dimension to my game.

What are you working on mostly right now?

Being consistent. Trying to rebound and defend my position. I think those are two things I need to really do to try to stick in the NBA. Those are the things I’m really focused on.

When you were waived from the Heat a few weeks ago did you already have an idea they would try to re-assign you here?

With the Josh [McRoberts] injury and the record where it was, it made sense. It makes sense and, you know, that’s kind of the danger of being the 15th man on a roster. If they need flexibility or anything like that you can be gone. Especially with the deadline and everything. I had a feeling. Obviously I wish things were a little bit better–if Josh wouldn’t have been hurt and if they would have been able to take more of a chance with the last spot. I was there since September and I was able to run a lot, get a lot of work in and I feel like I got better so I appreciate the opportunity and I’m looking forward to whatever’s next.

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