Deandre Daniels entered the 2014 NBA Draft Combine as a question mark to NBA teams. Plagued by inconsistent play throughout his career at UCONN, Daniels comes off a breakout NCAA tournament that saw him average 16 points/7 rebounds as the second scoring option. Highly praised for his length and athleticism, let’s see how Daniels matched up against top small forwards (not named McDermott/Parker/Wiggins) in the draft.
Top Small Forwards: Cleanthony Early (Wichita State), Deandre Daniels (UCONN), Jerami Grant (Syracuse), Rodney Hood (Duke), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)
Daniels used the drill section of the combine to show scouts his NCAA tournament shooting performance was not a fluke. The three-point shooting drills were separated into two parts, 25 shots from NBA range (break left, break right, corner left, corner right, top of the key) and 25 shots from NCAA range (same spots). Below I have combined the three-point shooting results of the small forwards prospects into one table:
|SF Rank||Spot Up 3 Point Shooting||Percentage|
Daniels 3P% increased dramatically during each of his three seasons at Connecticut, from 24%-31%-42%. Although his form is unique, if Daniels can continue to improve his shot he has the size and length to shoot over NBA small forwards.
The next shooting drill put players on the move with shots off the dribble left, right and at the top of the key to simulate in-game action. Daniels remained in the middle of the pack, demonstrating he is not just a spot up shooter but can create his own shot off the dribble.
|SF Rank||Non-Stationary Shooting||Percentage|
Arguably the most athletic position in the NBA, scouts are especially concerned with a players height, wingspan, standing reach and max vertical. Essentially, length and athleticism. Here is how Daniels compared to other elite small forwards at the combine. Note: Andrew Wiggins is widely considered the most athletic player in the draft and his numbers are included for comparisons sake, although he was not in attendance.
|Player||Height (shoes)||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Max Vertical|
|Daniels||6-8 1/2||7-2||8-10 1/2||32|
|Early||6-7 1/4||6-10 3/4||8-5 1/2||40|
|Grant||6-7 3/4||7-2 3/4||8-11||N/A|
|Hood||6-8 1/2||6-8 1/2||8-7||36|
|Robinson||6-6 3/4||6-10||8-4 1/2||41.5|
Stock: Up or Down?
Up. A player with as many inconsistencies as Deandre Daniels needed solid measurements to complement his tremendous potential. Aside from Jerami Grant – who will most likely switch to power forward in the NBA- Daniels led small forwards in almost all categories. He tied for the tallest of the group at 6-8 1/2 and at 7-2, his massive wingspan is 2 inches longer than that of Andrew Wiggins. Also, Daniels standing reach was by far the longest of small forwards present at the combine, a whopping 6 inches greater than Glenn Robinson III. One last notable measurement: 9 1/4 inches. This is the length of Daniels’ hand, largest among small forwards and tied for second largest in the entire combine. As you can see from the table above, Deandre is right on par with his peers physically. Strong, aggressive workouts will separate him from the pack and solidify a first round selection.
Deandre Daniels has the talent to be a late first round draft pick. On the other hand, scouts see him as a second round selection due to his pencil-thin frame and lack of strength. In a draft full of talented small forwards, Daniels’ performance in workouts will ultimately seal his fate. In my opinion, Deandre is one of the most underrated players in the draft and could make an impact for a contender after a season in the D-League. Here are some possible destinations:
- 25th pick, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have the flexibility to allow Daniels a season in the D-League to bulk up on a NBA strength training regimen.
- 35th pick, Utah Jazz: Young at every position the Jazz can go after the best player available which at this point in the draft, could be Daniels.
- 43rd pick, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks need a perimeter scorer, if they don’t fill this need in the first round look for them to fill it here.
Miami Heat: May 26th along with PJ Hairston (UNC)/Cleanthony Early (Wichita State)
Boston Celtics: June 3rd along with Kyle Anderson (UCLA)
Atlanta Hawks: TBD along with Johnny O’Bryant (LSU)