Beyond the numbers: How Dyson Daniels emerged as a 2022 NBA draft lottery pick
Daniels is Australia's hottest NBA prospect. Here's how he's looked like in the NBA G League so far.
It's no secret that Dyson Daniels will be flying the Australian flag at the 2022 NBA draft. The Bendigo product was viewed as a curious fringe first rounder just a few months ago by most media outlets covering the NBA draft, but a productive season with the NBA G League Ignite squad has seen his stock rise into lottery territory.
Daniels is a 6’6 guard boasting elite passing vision, strong rebounding instincts and a competitive streak on the defensive end. He's not one to put up gaudy numbers on the stat sheet, but that hasn't stopped him from getting noticed by NBA scouts ahead of the 2022 draft.
In our preseason interview with Daniels from August 2021, the rising star was expecting to play “20-25 minutes a game”, but it seems as though he was underselling himself. Daniels’ 31.2 minutes per game rank third on the team, behind only Jaden Hardy and MarJon Beauchamp, highlighting the faith that Ignite coaching staff have in him.
Daniels is averaging 11.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 31 minutes per game, on 46% shooting from the field. In just 18 games of G League action, the Aussie has shown enough to demand lottery pick attention from premier NBA draft pundits. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie even went so far as to suggest that Daniels was the crown jewel of the G League Ignite program’s class of 2022.
“Every team was at the G League Showcase in Las Vegas in December, and the ones I’ve talked to were unanimous in saying Daniels was the player they were most interested in. I’d peg him somewhere in the 10 to 19 range pretty comfortably right now,” Vecenie wrote in his January mock draft.
That’s some high praise for an international prospect who joined a team littered with NBA prospects. Hardy and Beauchamp are both in the lottery pick conversation, and Michael Foster will likely join them from either the second round or the late first round. If Daniels really has surpassed his highly touted teammates in such a short space of time, it’s difficult to imagine him being selected outside of the lottery.
Vecenie ranked the 6’6 guard 14th on his most recent big board for the 2022 NBA draft, and he’s not even the most bullish Daniels supporter out there. Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated ranked him 9th, and wrote that “NBA teams seem optimistic that [Daniels’] winning traits will add up in the long run”. Jonathan Givony of ESPN and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report weren’t as enthusiastic, ranking Daniels 16th and 23rd respectively, but Vecenie’s reported insights from NBA representatives carry the most weight at face value.
So, how exactly did Daniels manage to catapult his draft stock into the fringe lottery range?
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