Floor: Top 6 rotation guy, providing consistent playmaking and defense
Bullseye: Core starter, primary or secondary playmaker, elite and versatile defender - fringe all defense
Ceiling: fringe all star , top 3 player on championship team, perennial all-defense, primary playmaker
Pass - Grade: 94
Notes: Daniels is one of the best passers in the draft. His assist numbers (5.1 for the season), along with almost every other statistical category (6 in the last 2 months), improved drastically as his season with the ignite progressed. Daniels thrives as a passer in transition and out of the PnR. He is extremely smart and is great at leading his teammates to open areas of the floor with his passing. While he is methodical, he is also a quick decision maker. He is great for the flow of an offense as he makes the quick and simple read, and takes what the defense is giving him. He thrives at manipulating or reading defenses in 3 on 2 situations that present themselves in the half-court, always finding a rim cutter or open shooter. As the ignite season progressed, Daniels clearly was able to quickly pick up on the offensive tendencies of his teammates and put them in optimal positions to score. Daniels passing goes further beyond assist numbers, and he is not an assist hunter. He is a great hockey assist guy and generally a great ball-mover. Daniels versatile passing both in the PnR, half-court, transition, and outlet passes at a young age and his size (another factor as to why he's such a great PnR passer) is rare. Daniels is a great passer at a standstill or on the move. He can pass with either his right or his left, and has great accuracy and touch on his passing whether its a full-court outlet pass, a lob, a pin-point bounce pass to a roller, or a cross court pass to an open shooter. Daniels is a phenomenal rebounder, is fantastic at making a pass to start the break with incredible speed. His outlet passing was an incredible asset to the Ignite offense. In a league that's best defenses are built on being set in the half court, this skill will prove to be incredibly valuable. Daniels did struggle with turnovers at times, but this was largely due to the adjustment of the G-league pace and over-leading cutters at times. These are passes that will actually be easier to make at the next level, and will become easier as the game continues to slow down for him. His passing versatility is not just the variety of passes he can make, but also the variety of ways in which he can make those passes. Daniels sees the floor and cutters at such a high level, and can create scoring opportunities with his passing on top of that.
Dribble - Grade: 86
Notes: Similar to Daniels' passing, his handle is very effective although it is not flamboyant. Daniels is great at maximizing his dribbles, taking long strides, and attacking open gaps/space. His handle is very secure and under control, is a very protective ball handler. Has an effective but not quick first step and great footwork. He does lack blow-by speed in the half-court. Phenomenal at attacking out of DHOs. Has a bag of jabs, stabs, pivots, and stunts that he uses before he puts the ball on the floor. Great at changing speeds in the open floor and when navigating screens. Has a go to spin move. Has limited uses crossovers and behind the backs almost used as counters rather than go-to moves, prefers to post up or attack at angle in isolated situations. Has a nice and effective hesitation dribble. Quick with the ball in his hands in the open court. Patient and never in a rush with the ball in his hands, but understands what pace he needs to be playing at - is rarely hurried or rushed by defenders. Loves to get defender behind or locked next to him on dribble drives, has a knack for putting defender in jail. Uses strength and arm bar to protect ball on drives and to create space. Dribble relatively slow but is always going into space, and is very unpredictable as he is constantly surveying the floor and changing speeds and direction.
3pt shooting - Grade: 70
Notes: Daniels has a really nice and improved mechanics on his shot, but shot the ball poorly for the season at 30%. Daniels shot 4 for 19 on threes in January, but clicked in February and March ending the season on 10/19 3pt in the final 6 games of the season. His shot mechanics and confidence improved a substantial amount throughout the season. He shoots square, has a high release point, and a great follow through. He also does not hesitate to let it fly and has legitimate confidence in his shot. It is clear he understands how important it is for him to become at least an average shooter, and understands how valuable his ability to space is to himself and his team. His mechanics are no where near broken, and I project him to be a near league average 3 point shooter on mid to low volume. His great touch on floaters and around the rim, along with his passes, are encouraging for his long-term shooting progression. However, his poor FT% (60% for the year) does not favor his long-term shooting projection. Daniels shot 14/19 from the line in the G-league showcase, but just 10/26 for the rest of the Ignite season. The sample size for his 3 point shooting and free throws are both not large enough to be confident in his projection in either direction, but the eye-test favors his shooting progression in a big way. I would be truly surprised if Daniels isn't at least close to league average on a respectable volume from 3 in 3-5 years from now. Jumping straight into the NBA 3 point line is an adjustment that we have seen good shooters struggle with an ultimately figure out, and I have faith Daniels will follow similarly.
Mid-range shooting - Grade: 85
Notes: Daniels did not shoot it well from the mid-range level, but did show signs of promise. His floater is his go-to shot in the midrange area. He shot just 39% on floaters this season, but shot them at a high clip and improved as the season progressed. He was able to get his floater off in a variety of ways and with ease due to his length. This will be an essential part of his scoring in the NBA. The eye test shows that Daniels has great touch on his floater, and he is clearly comfortable/confident in taking that shot. Additionally, Daniels did take 36 mid-range jumpers this season and shot pretty well on them (21/36, 58%). He was comfortable in situations where he had to pull-up from mid-range off the dribble. He is a really good scorer in the in-between areas, which further bodes well for his pick and roll game and other steady, downhill situations.
Finishing - Grade: 83
Notes: Daniels shot 73/137 at the rim this season, good for 53.35. Not as good as you would hope for a 6'8 a guy with downhill skills and good touch, but as with everything his finishing improved as the Ignite season progressed. Daniels isn't great at absorbing and finishing through contact, but is great at avoiding and maneuvering around contact and finding creative ways to get off shots in the painted area. Again, for being 6'8 and a downhill attacker he does not finish above the rim as much as you'd like. Daniels does have great body control and timing on his finishing paired with great touch. He is a good finisher with both hands. He's patient in his attacks and is very methodical when finisher over or around bigs. He can be jarringly slow in his gather and footwork, which throws off some bigs but also results on him getting blocked relatively often. He is comfortable with gliding into bigs at an angle when going downhill, but struggles to finish when going east-west or vice versa. Is comfortable dribbling into post ups, but relies on a jump hook/floater in these situations and will often spin or dribble into space out of the post rather than backing his defender down. Daniels is agile and does have hang time and good in-air body contortion combined with good touch, and is good at getting to his spots. Due to his size, touch, and decent athleticism he will be at least an average finisher in the NBA. Once he gets stronger and if he is ever able to absorb and finish through contact, he will be a really good finisher. I project Daniels to be an above average finisher due to his floor combined with his IQ and pattern of progression. Once Daniels gets a more defined game with consistent go-to spots, and becomes even more comfortable going coast to coast I expect Daniels to get plenty of good looks around the rim on a game-to-game basis. Aggression is not an issue with Daniels even though contact is. Daniels will always attack downhill, which is why his finishing will consistently improve.
Off-ball playmaking - Grade: 85
Notes: Daniels understands where he needs to be at all times, which a big as to why he never hesitates to space the floor and shoot the open C&S three when the ball is swung to him. Daniels is a great and opportunistic cutter, although he does not cut at a high volume because of how often he was on the ball and how often he needed to simply space due to how the Ignite played (someone is driving with tunnel vision almost always). There were enough reps of high post touches and other cut-friendly situations as to where Daniels could display his IQ and positioning. I expect Daniels to become a much more high volume and effective cutter in the NBA. Daniels did ball watch at times, but I don't hold that against him due to the system and personnel he was playing with. Daniels engagement is almost always at a very high level and along with his IQ I expect him to be able to be good enough off the ball in the half-court, that paired with his confidence and willingness to not just space the floor but put up open C&S threes.
Offensive Rebounding - Grade: 88
Notes: Daniels is a really, really good rebounder on both sides of the floor. On offense, he incredibly opportunistic and has incredible timing. He is weirdly physical in rebounding, as he is not banging bodies with guys but he fights for position simultaneously as he glides in on his crashes. He averaged 2 OREB per game, but from the guard/wing position that is great value. His OREBs jump off the tape as they always result in something whether its a put back, a slick pass to an open big or shooter, or a simple offensive reset. Daniels goes up for boards with both hands and maximizes his length while relying on his elite timing. He gets the majority of his OREBs off of 3 point attempts, giving him plenty of time to plan his coordinated crash and catch defenders sleeping on their boxouts.
Offensive Summary: 85
Notes: Daniels is going to be an awesome complimentary offensive player in the NBA. Daniels will be somewhere in-between the ball brother, Franz Wagner, and Kyle Anderson. Daniels is going to his fair share of offensive duds in his first couple seasons. Expect to see a decent amount of games where he only scores 4-6 points with more shot attempts than points in his rookie year. Expect him to struggle at first to find a comfortable role in the half-court. Daniels knows exactly what he needs to do. Daniels has specified his goals of speeding up his release on his 3 pointer, adding dribble counters, adding strength and width to his frame, and further improving his floater and mid-range pull-up. Daniels knows exactly needs to be done for him to be a great offensive player. Daniels already has the unique passing qualities that you can't teach, which is why I value him as a top 5 prospect in this draft. The most important take-away with Daniels 3 pointer is that he already has good mechanics that are established and that he is confident in. That is a massive difference maker between other prospects who have poor 3 point shooting numbers. Daniels shot is not a broken project, the wheels are already in motion on his progression to being at least a league average 3 point shooter on a respectable volume. This is a big reason as to why him going to the Ignite was so valuable for him. Daniels is going to create valuable scoring opportunities for his teammates from day 1. He is going to generate easy, simple baskets multiple times a game which will force his coaching staff and teammates to quickly enjoy his presence on the court. His ability to be such a great passer on and off the ball will allow him to stay on the floor despite the likelihood of him being an inefficient scorer as a rookie. His offensive floor is much higher than it may seem, his willingness to take the open threes when they present themselves is incredibly important to his ability to be an effective off-ball player in the half-court. He will make enough of them to be able to comfortably stay on the floor, even though he may have some 0-2 and 0-3 3pt outings. Additionally, his value has a PnR ball handler and DHO downhill attacker + his value in creating efficient, valuable transition opportunities for his offense will make it very difficult to keep him off the floor. If one of his at the rim finishing, floater, mid-range, or 3 pt gets to a near elite level at a high volume he will be a very good offensive player. If two of those categories get to a near elite level at a high volume he will be a great offensive player. If he gains the ability to get to the line (and make free throws at a league average clip) at a decent volume on top of becoming near elite on high volume in two of the areas, Daniels will be an elite offensive player.
Engagement - Grade: 90
Notes: Daniels' defensive engagement is great. He got lost rotations more than you'd like for a defender and a guy with his IQ than you'd like, but this was a common theme with all of the Ignite perimeter defenders. I expect this issue to be resolved pretty quickly in the NBA. His overall engagement is great. He's very active is an is always surveying. His attentiveness is to screen navigation is elite. Daniels always knows who he is guarding and how to play them. His attentiveness and engagement on defense is 100% a strength of his.
Containment - Grade: 93
Notes: Daniels' containment is already elite, although it is unorthodox. Daniels has a give and take style of 1 on 1 defense, rather than just trying to stay in front of a guy the traditional way. He is almost elastic in his defensive movements, relying on his wingspan rather than his core to be in position to contest shots. Daniels is also great at using his core on defense, using his long torso to absorb contact to the chest without being moved off his spot. He has quick feet on closeouts and when moving laterally. Active hands. Good at beating defenders to spot, and forcing defenders into uncomfortable situations. When he does get beat, he has an elite mirror contest and is phenomenal at getting back into the play. His instincts are already elite. His frame is also great and is what allows him to be so effective laterally and absorb chest blows. He's an incredibly smart on ball defender and is great at using his natural athletic and physical gifts to maximize his IQ when defending on the ball. He often looks like he is almost beat but ends up being in perfect position to contest a shot or drive. He rarely leaves his feet. Is great at walling up on drives despite lacking strength. Swallows up smaller guards and denies larger players post ups. Can truly guard 1-4 at a very high level, in all areas of the game.
Team Defense - Grade: 86
Notes: Daniels' misses consecutive rotations at times and commits simple off-ball mistakes. This was largely in part due the nature of his defensive environment, which there was clearly not much influence on. He was not as aggressive in the gaps as you would hope for. His team defense was still good, and there aren't any concerns in getting those minor mental errors fixed up once he's inserted into a real defensive system. His IQ very high, he has active hands, covers lots of ground, is great at navigating screens, sacrifices his body, and is already a good weak-side help defender. He projects to fit into a team defense nicely, and should be great to elite team defender.
Rim Protection - Grade: 90
Notes: Daniels an elite rim protector relative to his position. He is great at contesting shots at the rim on drives, post ups, or as the rotating help defender. Elite timing on his contests whether it's a vertical contest, as the primary on ball defender or as the trailing defender. Elite at chase-down blocks in transition. Maximizes his length, has great coordination, good at contesting without fouling. His ability to rotate and protect the rim at a pretty high level paired with his elite on-ball perimeter ability is one of the reasons he's such a valuable defender.
Playmaking - Grade: 95
Notes: Daniels is a stocks machine. Active hands, great positioning, and great timing paired with length and coordination making him an incredible defensive playmaker. Additionally, his ability to get the break going by make quick outlets or going coast to coast himself make his stocks ability that much more valuable. Daniels has great timing on his reaches and gambles, and is phenomenal at getting back into the play when his gambles don't work out (which is not a regular occurrence).
Versatility - Grade: 99
Notes: Daniels can legitimately guard 1-4, and is also a great post defender. Daniels uses his lateral quickness to stay in front of smaller, quicker guards and uses his frame and length to cover big wings. He is a guy that will be legitimately guard the other team's best scorer unless it is Embiid and Jokic. In an NBA that is switch heavy, particularly when it counts, Daniels elite defensive versatility will be incredibly valuable.
Defensive Rebounding - Grade: 93
Notes: Daniels is an elite rebounder for his position. It was easier for him in the G-league than it will be in the NBA since it was less physical and so transition oriented, but Daniels will still be fantastic on the glass at the next level. Daniels is so motivated to crash the defensive glass due to his ability of making elite outlet passes and pushing the break himself. He uses his length and timing rather than the traditional boxout to crash the glass, but due to the fact he is always on guards and wings this is rarely ever an issue. He rebounds in a similar way to Westbrook did in OKC. The Ignite bigs often sealed their big to allow Daniels to soar in and grab the board, as they knew how valuable him getting the rebound is to their offense. D
Defensive Summary: 95
Notes: Daniels is just a defensive dream for the modern NBA. He can guard 1-4 at a high level. Great screen navigator. Stocks machine. High IQ. Fits into any scheme. Great as trail defender or point of attack defender. Will undoubtedly improve off-ball, needs to utilize his length and lateral ability more in the passing lanes. Consistently great understanding of the scouting report. Amazing at using length to contest shots on all types of shot attempts. Will be able to guard the opposing team's best guard or wing scorer every night. Elite rebounder for his position. All of that paired with his knack for rapidly starting the break is why he is such an enticing prospect.
Standing Reach: 8'9
Functional Athleticism: 80
Great lateral quickness
Great center of gravity
Ok vertical pop
Ok open floor speed