our 2022 NBA Draft Scouting Report Series Keep looking at Dyson Daniels, an interesting Australian defender prospect.
As the 2022 NBA draft class continues to take shape, Dyson Daniels is becoming a familiar name to those who follow. The 19-year-old Australian defender is likely to raise the draft and jeer more than any other player in his class because of the immediate and near-term value he can provide on the defensive end, as well as the potential he shows on offense.
By all reports, teams hoping for a chance to draft him mid-first-round will have to figure out a way to elevate themselves to potentially acquire him. Almost single-handedly, Daniels is increasing the value of picks in the top half of the lottery that may want to be moved by teams that hold them (Sacramento and Portland are possible examples).
Choosing to join the G League Elite program last summer helped him a lot. The exposure to NBA concepts and techniques allowed him to demonstrate his unique ability to learn the skills he was learning in a developmental environment and quickly apply them in a gaming environment.
This is especially true on the defensive end, where his ball-handling, point-of-point defense is very impressive for a player of his age and experience. Daniels uses his 6-foot-6 frame and 6-foot-10.5 wingspan to control the ball handler’s excellent footwork and disciplined hands.
Perhaps the most unexpected part of his performance as a defender was his commitment not to overuse situations like most young players. For example, he was content to simply stop the dribble and see the ball come back to another player on the perimeter.
When looking to create turnovers, his metrics are appropriate, relying mostly on digging and skipping passing lanes. He predicts very well and understands the value of creating deflection.
Few teenagers can come into the league with the confidence of an NBA coach on the defensive end, but Daniels is as close to a prospect as possible in that regard. During his time in the G League, he has demonstrated his ability to function as a defender in all areas of the game, both on and off the ball, in various assist situations, and in transition.
Daniels is good at navigating screens and understands how to manage space effectively. He can allow some separation when needed and find an angle for him to get back into position to reconnect to his man.
While his vertical athleticism hasn’t been well tested in the NBA draft, Daniels has often shown the ability to impact shooters at the rim. In this regard, especially for big guards, functional athleticism can sometimes serve defenders better than higher-end running and jumping abilities that must be controlled to avoid fouling or otherwise outpacing the game. .
The young defender’s vertical athletic ability tested extremely well. In fact, he had the best time in the shuttle flight. There’s no question that Daniels plans to be capable of being an upper-level defender in terms of possession and the point of attack.
Offensively, he’ll likely play a first-line guard role at some point, but move to the next level to be better positioned as a secondary creator. He showed the ability to see every pass even on the move. He’s fairly patient in the pick-and-roll and waits for the defense to make a choice before reading and making the right decision.
Perhaps the most NBA-suitable skill he has on offense is his ability to trigger transition balls. His forward pass does come from anywhere on the pitch. Accuracy and tactility are to be expected.
The skill that will determine his ultimate offensive ceiling is shooting. Daniels has been an inconsistent perimeter shooter, shooting about 30 percent from the 3-point line in both amateur and pro games.
The firing form is clean, but the release is a bit slow. Daniel admits that he feels a lot of it has to do with his confidence or lack of confidence as a shooter.
At this point, the tools he uses in the mid-range are good enough for him, but he needs to continue to diversify his bag in this area. He is comfortable catching his floats from either foot and has good balance and decisiveness in his pull-ups.
Daniels’ confidence and ability to convert shots at the rim also appears to be a work in progress. He showed some interesting progress in the G League last season. But it will take time to figure out how much progress is likely to continue.
In most recent mock drafts, Daniels was the seventh or better pick in most situations. If the Kings do intend to move their draft pick to the four, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a team take him even at that position.
From the Hawks’ perspective, one can’t imagine a better defensive prospect than them. Three years ago, they spent a fortune on promotion and selected DeAndre Hunter. Can they make a similar move this year?
Time will prove everything.