The Dovrat Conundrum – Point guard or shooting guard?

Oct 31, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem heads to face Bakken Bears in Denmark on Tuesday night as they look to move their Basketball Champions League record to 2-1 as they also look to build on their two straight Israel league wins. One of the big positives that came out of the Reds 82-68 win over Hapoel Eilat this past Friday was that up and coming guard Noam Dovrat had his best game of the season with 11 points while going 2/4 from beyond the arc in 23 minutes of play.

Dovrat has not had an easy time this season and has struggled playing the point guard position, however, against Eilat head coach Aleksandar Dzikic decided to have the Israeli play side by side with Speedy Smith. These minutes allowed Dovrat the opportunity to play off the ball and looked a million times more confident and much better without having the burden to control the offensive load for Jerusalem which is not a simple task with the style of offense that Dzikic plays.

Aleksander Dzikic – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

With that, Dzikic may be trying to move him into more of a shooting guard role or the off guard which is what Dovrat had played in the Under-20 European Championships as Amit Aharoni controlled the point. When The Sports Rabbi asked Dzikic about having Smith and Dovrat playing together, he was very enthusiastic, “Yes, yes, yes, yes. We will try to help him and change his role a little bit. It suits him pretty good and that was the case today.”

Smith also commented on playing alongside Dovrat for the first time this season, “I try to keep Noam motivated, he’s a good player, but he’s just young, so everyone needs to be a bit patient with him. We don’t need to overcrowd him, he’s a good player and he has a bright future.”

Dzikic said at the post-game press conference that he would be looking to add another Israeli player and that the matchups were a nightmare due to the fact that the league rules say that at least one domestic player needs to be on the court at all times.

Noam Dovart – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Common sense would dictate that this player would be a replacement for Oz Blayzer who is out with a shoulder injury which is what Levi Randolph said when asked by The Sports Rabbi if Dovrat would get more time.

“It’s different positions and he’s (Dovrat) important, everyone is important, he’s our second point guard and will help Speedy out,” but there was a report that the club was looking to add a point guard which was denied by the director of communications Roi Cohen.

If Jerusalem does add a point guard it’s clear that Dovrat will be moved to the 2 which perhaps at this point in his development and for the club would be best. Is that where he will be playing long term, that is a much bigger question that will have to be examined a lot more in depth as the season moves along.

יותם הלפרין

Yotam Halperin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Before injuring his elbow at the end of the 2020/21 season, it looked like Dovrat was very close to being a top flight prospect, but since then it’s been a hard road and an uphill battle. Last season he was going to be counted on to lead Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion as its captain, but it became very clear, very quickly that the pressure to keep the team from relegation was not going to be the best situation for him and he was sold to Jerusalem. Under the tutelage of former point guard Yotam Halperin, Dovrat took some strides in his development as a point guard with some games better than others, but it was never clear if this was going to be his ultimate destination to be a true floor general.

If Halperin would have continued as head coach, would have Dovrat been having an easier time this early season? That is up for debate and no one will really know due to the fact that Halperin moved back upstairs in the organization.

His stats last season won’t knock the socks off of anyone as he averaged 5,5 points, 2 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 22+ minutes. However, at the Under-20 European Championships this past summer, Dovrat was named to the Starting 5 players of the tournament while leading Israel to 4th place overall while averaging 17.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 35+ minutes per game. Of course, that was against contemporaries and not older and more experienced players.

Noam Dovrat – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

What does Dovrat feel about the situation and as to what position is best and or more comfortable for him? The Rishon Le’Zion native explained his thoughts just as the Reds boarded their flight to Denmark, “I feel comfortable at both guard positions, as the point guard and the off guard. When I play either position I feel good whether it’s the lead ball handler or playing beside Speedy. I feel comfortable at both.”

While Dovrat will give a politically correct answer when queried about what position he feels more comfortable with, over the course of the next month, the clouds will be lifted and we will see just what his role will be

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