Aussie Dyson Daniels is rising up draft boards due to his well-rounded game. The Knicks could make a move to get him or hope he falls into their laps at 11.
19-year-old Dyson Daniels was born in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, and began playing basketball at a young age. Daniels played Australian rules football when younger as well, but he decided to pursue a career in basketball where he played for the Australian national team and eventually took his talents to the NBA G League, spurning offers from multiple college programs. Daniels comes from an athletic family, with his father, Ricky, playing in Australia professionally after two years at North Carolina State.
In his lone G League season, Daniels put up decent numbers at 11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game, per NBA G League Stats. Playing alongside projected first-round picks MarJon Beauchamp and Jaden Hardy, Daniels arguably showcased the highest ceiling of the three and was able to fit in nicely on a roster with both NBA veterans and fellow teenagers.
Daniels is a versatile, smart, ascending talent, and he’s ready to come into the NBA and put on a show.
Daniels does a lot of things well on the basketball court and projects to be a stat-sheet stuffer in the Association. At 6-foot-8, Daniels has excellent size for a guard, which gives him the ability to be a solid rebounder and see over defenses. His height also helps him as a scorer—he takes advantage of his size by having a strong floater game, and he can also post up smaller guards and even some forwards.
A Swiss Army knife type of player, Daniels fits in well with the new position-less NBA. He is a strong defender who puts in the effort and has the size to disrupt passing lanes with his long arms and instincts.
One of the most important traits that Daniels possesses is his basketball I.Q. Daniels has unique experience for someone so young, playing for the Australian U-15 national team and the Australian senior national team. At the age of 19, Daniels has been exposed to a lot of different styles of play, both in Australia and the G League, and he plays the game with a sort of maturity that you don’t often see from teenagers. The 19-year-old has shown the ability to control the pace of the game with his floor-general demeanor and excelled in the pick-and-roll thanks to his patience in the halfcourt, a necessary attribute for an NBA guard, especially in crunch time.
The main weakness that is evident in Daniels’ game is his outside shooting. Dyson Daniels, in his one season as a member of the G League Ignite, shot the ball at a poor 25.5% clip from behind the arc, per NBA G League Stats. In today’s NBA, it can be a major problem if your guards are a liability from three. But Daniels did show some growth over the year, and if he can at least become a competent three-point shooter, he will be even tougher to guard than he already is.
Overall athleticism is another issue for Daniels, who lacks elite verticality, speed, and the ability to break down the defense from a standstill. He has trouble creating offense for himself and, since he isn’t a great shooter and doesn’t leap very well, he often has to rely on craftiness, which could limit him as an offensive threat in the NBA. Although this isn’t ideal, we do see players who can make a living off of finesse, rather than explosiveness, like Luka Doncic.
Daniels by all accounts is a hard worker and is very aware of areas of his game he needs to improve on. Daniels sat down with former ESPN Draft analyst, and current Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM, Mike Schmitz in March and discussed his outside shooting.
“That’s my swing skill, being able to shoot the basketball,” Daniels told Schmitz. “I think my last nine games I shot it 45%, so I think for me it’s just getting in the gym and getting reps up. I’ve always had the mechanics, it’s just adjusting to the ball, adjusting to the NBA three-point line. Once I got the hang of that, the stroke was feeling really good in the end.”
Lonzo Ball is someone that immediately comes to mind when analyzing Daniels’ game. Both possess excellent height and wingspan for a guard and have elite defensive instincts and passing abilities. Daniels, like Lonzo, projects to be a solid floor general and distributor who can impact the game in a variety of ways. Athleticism-wise, both Daniels and Ball leave a bit to be desired and are not as explosive or vertical as some other point guards we currently have in the Association. Outside shooting confidence and consistency have been an issue for Ball for years and although improved, he still isn’t a great three-point shooter. Daniels is in that same boat, where he needs to improve his outside shooting and become less selfless as an offensive creator.
At age 19, Lonzo’s on-court maturity, basketball I.Q., and feel for the game were a few notches up from what we currently see from Dyson Daniels, who sometimes can be a bit erratic; however, I think he has the makeup and potential to grow into a very sound and reliable point guard.
Another player that comes to mind is former NBA Rookie of the Year in 2014, Michael Carter-Williams. MCW stuck around for a little while in the league but was never able to replicate his rookie year stats and production, when he averaged 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 6.3 assists, per Basketball-Reference. MCW reached his ceiling very quickly in the NBA and wasn’t a good enough offensive talent to be anything more than a rotational guard. I think Daniels’ raw talent and defensive ability are greater than MCW’s, but both share similar traits as point guards.
Fit With The Knicks and Draft Availability
With Daniels’ rising up draft boards due to his excellent NBA Draft Combine showing, there is buzz that he could be selected in the top five, according to Jonathan Givony. It’s debatable whether Daniels should be a top-five selection, but if the hype train keeps picking up steam, I could see the Sacramento Kings taking him at five as a replacement for Tyrese Haliburton, who has a similar skill set to Daniels.
Dyson Daniels had (in my view) the most impressive showing of any prospect on the Pro Day circuit at the NBA Combine, shooting the lights out and looking like he still has immense potential he's yet to tap into. Starting to generate some top-five pick buzz. pic.twitter.com/fiJ1ez4Qq4
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 21, 2022
If Dyson Daniels is there for the taking at 11, I wouldn’t be upset with the selection, but I do believe there are other options better suited for the Knicks, like shooting guards Johnny Davis or Bennedict Mathurin. Most Knick fans believe that Immanuel Quickley should be given the opportunity to start at point guard with a veteran like Derrick Rose off of the bench to spell IQ. Although Daniels’ skill set is intriguing and his ceiling is high, I think adding another point guard to the mix to develop isn’t necessary at this juncture and they should more focus on acquiring more offensive firepower and guys who are more polished scorers as opposed to a do-it-all guard who will likely need a few years to develop into a good player.