New Orleans Pelicans: How Dyson Daniels will benefit Herb Jones

Nov 17, 2021; El Segundo, CA, USA; South Bay Lakers guard Mac McClung (0) is defended by G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 17, 2021; El Segundo, CA, USA; South Bay Lakers guard Mac McClung (0) is defended by G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans drafted Dyson Daniels with the 8th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which wasn’t a surprise considering he had been attached to them as a possibility for weeks.

Daniels is a versatile Australian guard who many view as the best perimeter defender in the draft. Moreover, this was a ‘need’ pick. At 6’7.5” in sneakers, 195.2 lbs, 6’10.5” wingspan, and 4.9% body fat, Dyson has the ideal body type of an elite NBA wing/guard defender and gives the Pelicans some much-needed size in their guard ranks.

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After the draft, Trajan Langdon said that the New Orleans Pelicans saw immense value in Dyson Daniels due to the lack of size the team lacked in the backcourt. New Orleans is a bit undersized with CJ McCollum, Devonte Graham, Jose Alvarado and Kira Lewis Jr. which led to Herb Jones primarily taking on the bulk of the difficult matchups on the perimeter.

According to this graphic from BBall-Index, High indicates that a player guarded studs nightly. Herb is the highest player on the diagram, which means he was almost always tasked with defending the other team’s best player regardless of position. Drafting Daniels takes a huge defensive load off of Herb, even though he’s still going to be the primary defender on a night to night basis.

New Orleans Pelicans: Dyson Daniels will take some pressure off Herb Jones

While his offense needs polish, Dyson’s defense truly shines. He told AUS Hoopers TV,

"“Just being able to be the best defender is one of my main goals because the best defender always has to be on the court. Definitely, defense is a huge part of my game and I embrace the challenge of being able to guard the best player.”"

Daniels named Alex Caruso (one of the better on-the-ball perimeter defenders in the NBA) as a player he tries to model himself after.

Defensively, his effort level is high, as he stays locked in off-ball with stellar defensive intensity, but his one-on-one defense is a major boost to his profile. He has the lateral quickness to slide along, and the length to contest layups/shots. He switches every matchup and is an excellent help defender. He’s almost a mirror of Herb in that regard. Daniels also uses his length to disrupt passing lanes and get rips. He racks up more than two steals a game because of his instincts to jab at the ball when he’s a help defender and on-ball.

Daniels has all the characteristics that Willie Green and the front office have sought in their previous draft picks: an impeccable work ethic, tenacious defense, intelligence, and a positive, team-first attitude. Dyson Daniels is going to be a great addition to the Pelicans roster.

Next. Pelicans' depth chart after the NBA Draft. dark