Team Australia is missing a major opportunity with Dyson Daniels

Dyson Daniels & Josh Richardson, New Orleans Pelicans. Keon Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images)
Dyson Daniels & Josh Richardson, New Orleans Pelicans. Keon Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images) /

Dyson Daniels made the team but he has not logged many minutes for Team Australia during the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Finding minutes was always going to be tough for Dyson Daniels with this stacked Team Australia cast. New Orleans Pelicans General Manager Trajan Langdon explained before the 2023 FIBA World Cup tipped off that “[Daniels] is a young guy on his Australian team. To learn from those veteran (Australian) players that have been in competitions and won medals at different levels of international competitions, he’s going to gain a great deal from that.”

So what has the experience been like these first three games, and what can Daniels look forward to going into the second round?

Australia (98) vs. Finland (72)

Team Australia opened the 2023 FIBA World Cup with a tone-setting win over Finland. Everyone contributed in some way to topple a sneaky dark horse contender led by NBA All-Star Lauri Markkanen. Daniels played just under 4 minutes (3:39) and at least tallied up a rebound, an assist, and a steal but missed his only shot. He found space right in front of the restricted area but could not get the friendly roll. Finishing the easy chances, especially when it’s the only chance, is paramount to getting more minutes.

Australia (82) vs. Germany (85)

This FIBA experience is somewhat mimicking his rookie year. Overall, Daniels averaged 17.7 minutes and started 11 games, but he was also relegated to garbage time or bench (59 Games Played) during stretches of the season. Daniels got the DNP-CD designation in a close game that could have clinched a spot in the second round for Australia. In that case, there would have been time for the youngest player on the roster to get some run against Japan. However, after a tight loss against Germany, Australia went into their last pool play contest playing for their tournament lives.

Australia (109) vs. Japan (89)

Australia had a 22-point lead at halftime, yet Daniels concluded the game with only 75 seconds of playing time. Daniels again missed a middle-of-the-paint floater, this time a few feet below the free-throw line.  As the games get more challenging, it’s harder to see a pathway to playing time before the Pelicans open training camp.

Australia has a hard road ahead just to get to the medal rounds, and it doesn’t get any easier. The next two games are against Luka Doncic (Slovenia) and either Cape Verde or Georgia, two very dangerous teams with real NBA/EuroLeague talent. Then comes either Canada, Spain, or Brazil in the quarterfinals.

Daniels did well in Las Vegas during Summer League action, averaging 14.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.2 blocks over five games as the lead guard. He may be done playing overseas for the summer, but training camp is just three weeks away. At the very least, his time with Team Australia should put him in great shape for camp.

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