With news that the Pelicans are looking to trade into the NBA Draft to grab a small forward or center plenty of questions have been raised about the plan of the front office. Out of all of them though the most important seems to be which player, or players, have caught the eye of the front office enough to cause them to try to work themselves back into a pick. Instead of trying to guess exactly the player, Pelican Debrief has decided to just break down 18 small forwards and centers leading up to draft day (two reports will be posted daily) so that Pelicans fans will be ready no matter where or when the team trades into the draft and selects a player.
DeAndre Daniels comes into the 2014 Draft out of Connecticut, fresh off winning this year’s NCAA Tournament alongside teammate Shabazz Napier, who is actually being projected as a first round draft pick at the moment. Daniels meanwhile comes into the draft intriguing teams in the second round thanks to the leap he made between his sophomore and junior years.
Standing Reach: 8″10.5″
Max Vertical: 32″
Stats: 38 Games, 29 mpg, 13.1 ppg, 46.9 FG%, 41.7 3PT%, 78.7 FT%, 6.0 rpg, .4 apg, .7 spg, 1.4 bpg
Draft Projections: Daniels is currently projected as an early second round pick.
Daniels biggest strength coming into the draft will be his size, and length. At nearly 6’9″ , he has elite size to play the small forward position in the NBA, where he saw a majority of his time at this season at UConn. To go in combination with his height and weight, he also has a wingspan of 7’2″ to help him on the defensive end of the floor, where even at UConn, he showed promis by averaging nearly two blocks per 40 minutes in each of his three years at UConn. Combined with his measurable’s that natural ability to defend should help in intriguing scouts.
Daniels other positive is his improved ability to shoot the ball. He showed last year that he was more than capable hitting all types of jumpers from anywhere on the floor including tough turnaround and fade away jumpers that players tend to struggle with. To go along with all of his shooting prowess from inside the arc, Daniels also improved his three point field goal percentage, going from 28% combined in his first two years, to 42% in his junior season at UConn. What makes Daniels shooting so tough to defend is his high release point, something that will be important for him considering his release is a bit slow. The high release will allow Daniels to get shots up over defenders and closeouts which is big for someone who will be asked to be a spot-up shooter early in his career.
Daniels phyiscal strength is one area of concerns for scouts, as he weighs only 196 pounds, which is light for his height at the NBA level. While at UConn, he only gained six pounds in three years, going from 190 pounds when he got to school to 196 pounds when he left, which is why so many scouts have rung the concern bell over his weight.
The other concerns are both offensive deficiencies, as Daniels struggles with ball handling, and passing. The more concerning of the two right now is his passing ability. Over 38 games Daniels picked up just 17 this season, an almost impossibly low number for a perimeter player. Ball handling on the other hand, is a skill that can be easier to pick up than passing. Daniels inability to pass and handle the ball resulted in 1.5 turnovers a game this year, a total of 57 over 38 games played this season.
Projected Role: At best, Daniels will be a role player this upcoming season. Despite all of the positives he can provide, there are still a lot of questions surrounding his game that will need to be worked on before he starts to see serious minutes, if he ever gets there. Look for DeAndre in the D-League, or on the bench where ever he gets drafted this season.
Measurements for DeAndre Daniels were found at DraftExpress.com. To read more about Daniels and watch his DX scouting report video, you can go here.