Deandre Daniels 2014 NBA Draft Combine Recap

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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)

Drills

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
1 Robinson 62%
2 Hood 60%
3 Daniels 54%
4 McDaniels 50%
5 Early 44%
6 Grant 40%

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
1 Hood 78%
2 Robinson 72%
3 Daniels 67%
4 McDaniels 60%
5 Grant 53%
6 Early 51%

Measurements

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
McDaniels 6-6 6-11 3/4 8-6 37
Robinson 6-6 3/4 6-10 8-4 1/2 41.5
Wiggins 6-8 3/4 7-0 8-11 44*

*unofficial

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.

Draft Projections

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.

Workout Updates

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)

Deandre Daniels and Ryan Boatright NBA Draft Update

The deadline for NCAA underclassmen to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft is April 27th. For Deandre Daniels and Ryan Boatright, this means a decision will be announced in the next few days. As a Husky fan, I would love to see these two back in blue and white next season but with millions of dollars at stake there are many more contributing factors. Here is how I think it will all play out:

Ryan Boatright

Ryan Boatright would benefit from another year in school. Helter-skelter at times, another year under the tutelage of a former NBA point guard would seem to be the rational decision. However, this was not a rational year. Boat is coming off a courageous NCAA tournament performance that drove his stock to an all-time high. Critics allude to his size and decreased statistical performance as indicators he should return for his senior season. I do not understand the size argument, Boat will be the same height next year if he stays and enters the 2015 draft. He will be as undersized then as he is now. The difference is, now his stock is at its peak (barring a repeat). His size will remain the same but his stock can only drop. To address the statistics argument, Boat averaged 12.1 points/3.5 rebounds/3.4 assists this season down from 15.4 points/4.4 assists a year ago. Ok, yes, that’s a drop off of 3 points and 1 assist, but, if you take a deeper look, you will see he took 2 less shots, grabbed .5 more rebounds and committed 1 less turnover per game. Also, we won the National Championship. Boat’s production didn’t drop off, he found his place in the winning formula. Protecting the ball, crashing the glass and accepting a diminished role offensively was what we needed from Boat and that’s exactly what he gave us. He put the team over individual performance, demonstrating his maturation from freshman year. A non-basketball factor to take into account is the death of Boatright’s cousin, Arin Williams, who was shot to death in January outside Chicago. I am sure the desire to move his family to a safer location will play a role in his decision.

To Stay or Go?

Prediction: Enters NBA Draft, mid to late second round pick

 

 Deandre Daniels

Deandre Daniels is another player who could benefit from one more year under Coach Ollie. Standing at 6’9 195 lbs, another year in the weight room seems appropriate as well. On the other hand, Daniels is coming off a NCAA Tournament that saw him play his best basketball in a UCONN uniform including 27 points/10 rebounds vs Iowa State and a 20/10 game vs Florida. Daniels’ length, athleticism and skill set are all highly coveted by NBA GM’s. Does he stay or does he go? As in the case of Boatright I believe Deandre will cash in on his high stock. The opportunity is too hot to pass up. In a draft loaded with talent at the small forward position- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Cleanthony Early- ┬áDeandre has something none of them have, a ring, the mark of a winner. Another case to consider is that of former UCONN big man Alex Oriakhi, who played a similar role to Daniels on the 2011 National Championship team. After much deliberation Oriakhi chose to remain in Storrs, a move you cannot blame him for but ultimately led to his demise. Oriakhi picked school over stock and is now fighting his way through the D-League to get back to the promised land. Rest assured his decision will be weighing in the back of Deandre’s mind throughout the process.

To Stay or Go?

Prediction: Enters NBA Draft, late 1st round to early 2nd round pick