New Orleans Pelicans: 3 bold predictions for Dyson Daniels in 2022-23

Santa Cruz Warriors guard Moses Moody attempts dunks against G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Santa Cruz Warriors guard Moses Moody attempts dunks against G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans were in the rare position of being a playoff team that still got to pick in the lottery, using the 8th pick they received from the Lakers to select Dyson Daniels.

The Australian is an intriguing two-way prospect out of the G-League, who can handle the ball, slash on the wing and defend multiple positions.

He’ll be joining a loaded roster that has eyes on a deep playoff run, so Daniels is going to have to earn every minute and could start the season out of the rotation. He also suffered an injury in Summer League that limited him to just eight minutes, so he’s going to have to be impressive in training camp and preseason to get time early in the regular season.

Willie Green has shown that he will play the young players if they put in effort on the defensive end, so Daniels won’t sit for long if he is putting in the work.

His size and defense might be playable right away, and I do think Dyson Daniels will work his way into the rotation eventually and make an impact next season.

Here are three bold predictions for Daniels’ rookie season.

New Orleans Pelicans: 3 bold predictions for Dyson Daniels

#1: Daniels will get minutes over Devonte’ Graham

The New Orleans Pelicans will have a trio of small guards coming off the bench in Jose Alvarado, Devonte’ Graham and Kira Lewis Jr.

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It appears as though Alvarado has a lock on one of those spots, as he was a proven impact player off the bench who played well down the stretch and made a difference with his defense.

Playing Jose alongside Graham or Lewis Jr. could prove to be problematic, as they are all small and can really only defend one position, though Alvarado can hold his own against just about anyone.

This could lead to Daniels eventually getting the nod off the bench, as he is 6-foot-7, can defend multiple spots, and his 6-foot-11 wingspan can be disruptive on the perimeter. The Pelicans could put in defensive lineups with Alvarado, Daniels and Herbert Jones that could potentially be lockdown and match up against anyone.

The Pels need Graham’s shooting, but coach Green has shown a preference for defense, so if Daniels shows he can defend, Graham could be the odd man out of the rotation.

Getting regular rotation minutes would be huge for Dyson Daniels as a teenager in his first year in the league.

#2: Daniels will hit shots

This is probably the boldest prediction, as Daniels shot just 25 percent from 3-point range and his shot was thought to be his biggest weakness, as he is a good playmaker who can finish around the rim.

But he’ll be playing a lot more off the ball for the Pelicans, often with guys who draw double teams, so Daniels should get plenty of open looks compared to the G-League, where he was a high usage guy who spent a lot of time with the ball in his hands.

He’ll also be working with assistant coach Fred Vinson, who has helped guys like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones improve from beyond-the-arc. I don’t think Daniels is going to suddenly morph into Steph Curry but I think a big leap up to 31-32 percent is possible, which will make him a lot more playable as a rookie.

#3: Daniels will be a top-5 rookie in steals

Herb Jones led all rookies in steals last season and Daniels has a chance to join him if he can earn enough minutes.

He has the motor and wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and will get plenty of chances with Alvarado and Jones pressuring the ball. Daniels averaged 1.9 steals per game in the G-League last season and will be playing with much better defenders next season who will be taking on the toughest assignments, leaving him to roam free and hunt steals.

Daniels may not get enough minutes early on to lead all rookies, but I think he has a good shot to be top-5 in steals among first year players if he can earn time.

It’s not going to be handed to him, and Daniels is going to have to beat out some good players to get minutes, but his size an defense open up bigger and more versatile lineups for the Pelicans, so don’t rule out a big rookie season.

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