How Dyson Daniels could be part of a Big Four in New Orleans
Daniels is New Orleans-bound. Here's how his positional versatility could make him a seamless fit with the Pelicans.
When the New Orleans Pelicans traded Lonzo Ball in August 2021, few would have expected the front office to find another lanky, defensive-minded playmaker within a year. Bendigo native Dyson Daniels is a perfect fit for the Pelicans, and he fell in to their lap at pick number eight, despite earlier rumours that Indiana and Portland were eyeing him at picks six and seven, respectively.
Daniels’ game is as unique as the flashy silver suit he wore on draft night, and underpinned by his ability to fill multiple areas of the stat sheet. The 6’8 point guard averaged 11.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists in his lone season for the G League’s Ignite team, while making 53% of his two point field goals. Shooting struggles hampered Daniels’ charge towards the draft’s top five, as he made just 30 of 100 (30%) three-pointers and shot 24 of 45 (53%) from the foul line, across 29 G League appearances.
However, shooting is arguably one of the most correctable flaws, given enough time and effort. Kawhi Leonard, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball have respectively overhauled their shot mechanics after reaching the NBA.
Ball in particular is the poster boy for improved shooting, after coming into the league with an unorthodox jumper that drew questions. He shot 31.5% from beyond the arc on over five attempts per game through his two years with the Lakers, but a move to New Orleans signalled a new beginning. Ball credited Pelicans assistant coach, Fred Vinson, for unlocking his revamped jump shot, that led to an instantaneous uptick in shooting numbers. Ball shot 38% from three-point range across two seasons with the Pelicans, while increasing his three-point volume to 6.3 attempts per game in 2019-20, and 8.3 attempts per game in 2020-21. The positive uptrend continued even after moving to Chicago for the 2021-22 season; Ball shot 42% from downtown, on 7.4 attempts per game.
Right now, Daniels is not a great free throw shooter, and far from being a three-point marksman. The 19 year old boasts an impressive in-between game, underpinned by a sneaky floater, that allows him to score over lanky rim protectors. He’s also capable of finishing with either hand at the rim, and his speed allows him to get inside with ease, leaving two key areas for improvement: ball-handling and shooting.
Don’t sleep on Daniels’ athleticism either.
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