The New Orleans Pelicans may have nabbed the best rookie playmaker in Dyson Daniels.
Daniels played for Ignite in the previous G League season after growing up playing in Australia. The Boomer was projected to be the third-best shooting guard or the best point guard in the draft. Since he stands 6'7 with a 6'10 wingspan, Daniels has the size to play a variety of positions. With Ignite last season, he had averages of 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
Daniels performed admirably on his pro day at the combine and did well during team interviews. After a sluggish start in the G League, Daniels exploded to conclude the season, setting up others and demonstrating his height and length against far stronger opponents. In addition, his great basketball IQ makes him a rookie with very interesting potential.
He is the kind of player who can work in a variety of NBA systems. Due to his flexibility both on offense and defense, whether playing on or off the ball. Daniels can certainly serve as a supplementary ball handler, and he may even be a viable option on the wing.
So far, the Pelicans' coaching staff has liked what Daniels is bringing to the table, and we'll see just how good he can be.
"He's been fantastic,"
– Jarron Collins on Dyson Daniels pic.twitter.com/eVTEiwJm9a
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 3, 2022
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Dyson Daniels Bold Pelicans Predictions
2. Daniels will average 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game
The main reason teams were interested in Dyson Daniels was his defense. He has great footwork and is an excellent individual defender. The 19-year-old also has great anticipation and the fortitude to stand his ground even against bigger opponents. No other rookie perimeter player is as equipped to contribute as a defender right away.
Daniels can also amass a colossal amount of deflections, steals, and blocks. That's thanks to his active hands. He can leverage his understanding of how to play angles to disrupt the flow of opposing offenses. By pairing him with Jose Alvarado, Pelicans fans should regularly see fast breaks going the other way that are started by a defensive rebound, steal, or blocked shot — Daniels is involved in one way or another.
Daniels has the ability to guard four positions in the NBA because of his size and length. He should be able to flip on defense at the next level since the league favors guys who can do that. Recall that he averaged 0.8 blocks and roughly two thefts each G League game. To deal with larger guys in the NBA, however, he will need to gain some strength. Only conventional centers are likely to remain outside his defensive capabilities.
Next, Daniels' passing is his greatest asset. He has good court vision, reacts swiftly to game situations, and consistently finds open teammates. Since he has mostly played point guard throughout his career to this point, he has developed an uncanny ability to manage offensive setups. When he is moving, he keeps his head up and can see holes in the defense before they open up. He also loves to start fast break attacks, and that will keep his opponents on their toes.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) June 30, 2022
1. Daniels will start at PG in the second half of the season
Dyson Daniels will compete in the Summer League to further hone his defensive and playmaking abilities — the two crucial aforementioned facets that will earn him significant minutes in the next season. He's listed as a combo guard, but since CJ McCollum probably won't play PG much, Daniels will spell Alvarado, who should be the default starter.
It will likely take a few months do Daniels to fully adjust to the pace, style, and mentality of NBA competition. That won't prevent him, however, from eventually playing a significant role in the rotation.
Lastly, don't be surprised if Daniels will be used by the Pelicans alongside McCollum and Brandon Ingram. That would be an interesting combination as Daniels will just focus on what he does best — defend and pass — while the other two take care of the scoring cudgels. Based on everything we have seen, Daniels is a player who will just keep getting better and should have a lengthy NBA career.