The Pelicans are back tonight, and so is this fan favorite

Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Editor’s note: Dyson Daniels, despite being listed as probable on the injury report, ultimately did not end up suiting up for the New Orleans Pelicans in their game against the Toronto Raptors, as he re-tweaked his ankle after overexerting himself in preparation for his return. 

For the first time in over a week, the New Orleans Pelicans will play basketball today as they cross the border into Canada to match-up against the Toronto Raptors.

And while they still won’t have Zion Williamson in uniform (he’ll be out at least a few more weeks), it looks like, for the first time in almost a month, they will be able to lean on the services of rookie Dyson Daniels.

According to Pelicans beat writer Will Guillory, both Daniels and Larry Nance Jr. are listed as “probable” to play against the Raptors. In basketball injury speak, the term “probable” usually means that the player will be good to go for the game.

The rookie was last seen on January 24th against the Denver Nuggets, where, early in the second quarter, he took a nasty fall after executing a spin move followed by a floater.

Having Daniels back will be a huge plus for the Pelicans, especially as they attempt to stay in the playoff race without Williamson. Most of the time, rookies aren’t ready to seriously contribute to teams with playoff aspirations. But Daniels isn’t your average rookie.

His counting stats may not look that impressive (4.5 PPG/3.5 RPG/2.5 APG in nearly 20 minutes of action per night), but he’s managed to make his presence felt with his defense.

Scroll through Twitter, and you are guaranteed to see a bounty of highlight reels just like this one. In fact, he’s been so good that part of the reason the Pelicans didn’t make a deal to acquire OG Anunoby or Mikal Bridges at the deadline is they didn’t want to give up Daniels (or Trey Murphy III). Considering the league-wide respect Anunoby and Bridges command, that’s a massive admission of just how highly this organization views their 2022 first-round selection.

Daniels likely won’t garner any consideration for Rookie of the Year, but his return does give him 23 more chances (which would give him a total of 62 games played) to make his case for a spot on an All-Rookie Team.

Whether or not he ultimately receives the nomination, the Pelicans are going to need him to make the strongest argument he can as they desperately battle to keep pace in the West and secure their second playoff berth in as many seasons.

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