Our 2022 NBA Draft scouting report series continues with a look at Dyson Daniels, an intriguing Australian guard prospect.
Dyson Daniels is becoming a familiar name to those following along as the 2022 NBA draft class continues to take shape. The 19-year-old Australian guard has perhaps moved up draft boards and mocks more than any other player in the class because of the immediate and near-term value he could offer on the defensive end and the potential he has shown as an improving offensive prospect.
By all reports teams that were hoping to have an opportunity to select him in the middle of the first round will have to find a way to move up as to position themselves to potentially acquire him. Almost singlehandedly, Daniels is increasing the value of picks in the upper half of the lottery potentially looking to be moved by teams that hold them (Sacramento and Portland are possible examples).
Opting to sign on with the G League Elite program last summer has served him well. The exposure the opportunity provided to NBA concepts and techniques has allowed him to demonstrate his unique ability to take skills he is learning in a development context and to quickly apply them in a game setting.
This is especially true on defense where his on ball, point of attack defense is wildly impressive for a player of his age and experience. Daniels uses his 6’6 frame and 6’10.5 wingspan to contain ball handlers with exceptional footwork and disciplined use of his hands.
Perhaps most unexpected part of his performance as a defender is his commitment to not overplaying situations as most young players do. For example, he’s content to simply halt dribble penetration and see the ball move back out to another player on the perimeter.
He’s appropriately measured when pursuing opportunities to create turnovers, relying mostly on digs and chances to jump a passing lane. He anticipates exceptionally well and understands the value of creating deflections.
Very few teenagers can enter the league with the possibility of being trusted by an NBA coach on the defensive end, but Daniels is as close as a prospect can get in that regard. In his time in the G League he demonstrated his ability to operate in all areas of play as a defender, whether on or off the ball, in varied help situations, and in transition.
Daniels navigates screens well and understands how to manage space effectively. He can allow some separation, when needed, and find an angle that lets him get back into position to reattach to his man.
While his vertical athleticism didn’t test very well at the NBA Draft combine, Daniels regularly shows an ability to impact shooters at the rim. In this area, especially for bigger guards, functional athleticism can sometimes serve a defender better than higher end running and jumping abilities that have to be reined in as to avoid fouls or otherwise overrunning a contest.
The young guards vertical athleticism tested extremely well. He, in fact, had the single best time in the shuttle run. Daniels undoubtedly projects to have the ability to be an upper tier defender in ball containment and point of attack contexts.
Offensively, he may be able to function as lead guard down the line at some point but will hit the next level better positioned to be developed as a secondary creator. He demonstrates an ability to see every pass even when on the move. He’s appropriately patient in the pick and roll and waits for the defense to make choices before looking to read and react with the right decision.
Perhaps the most NBA ready skill he has offensively is his ability to trigger transition possessions. His hit ahead passes come, really, from any spot on the court. And the accuracy and touch are all one could expect.
The skill that will determine his eventual offensive ceiling is the shooting. Daniels has been an inconsistent shooter from the perimeter hitting roughly a 30% mark from the three-point line in amateur and professional settings.
The shooting form is clean but the release is a little on the slow side. Daniels has been open that he feels this largely relates to his confidence, or lack thereof, as a shooter.
The tools he puts to use in the mid range work well enough for him at this point but he will need to continue diversifying his bag in this area. He’s comfortable getting to his floater from either foot and has good balance and decisiveness getting to his pull up.
Daniels’ confidence and ability to convert shots at the rim appears to also be a work in progress. He demonstrated some interesting improvement last season in G League competition. But it will take time to sort out how much of the progress might stick.
In recent mock drafts, Daniels is landing in the seventh spot or higher in most cases. If the Kings are indeed intent on moving their pick at four it wouldn’t be surprising in the least to see a team move up to take him even at that position.
From a Hawks perspective, one can’t imagine a more desirable defensive prospect for them to target. Three years ago they spent a chunk of capital to move up and select De’Andre Hunter. Could they make a similar move this year?
Time will tell.