The New Orleans Pelicans have added another guard to their roster after selecting with the No. 8 overall pick. Daniels is the latest in an increasingly long line of tall, versatile ball-handlers to come out of Australia. Though not quite as promising as prospects like Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey were, Daniels shares both their gift for playmaking and their limitations as shooters. Daniels made just 25.5 percent of his long-range shots in the G-League last season, and as Simmons has found, he’s going to have to improve if he hopes to contribute to high-level winning.
Fortunately, Daniels brings just about everything else to the table. He rebounds and defends quite well for a guard, and at 6-6, should be a fit in virtually any defensive scheme against a variety of matchups. His future is going to come down to that one, pesky skill: if Daniels can grow into even a passable shooter, he’s going to have a long and prosperous NBA career.
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The Pelicans got incredibly to keep this pick. Last offseason, they actually traded it to the Memphis Grizzlies… but with a caveat that nobody expected to apply. If the Los Angeles Lakers, then-favorites in the Western Conference, wound up picking in the top 10? The pick would stay with the Pelicans. That’s exactly what happened.
And now New Orleans gets to add a top prospect to a roster that’s already loaded with young talent. Brandon Ingram made his second All-Star Game last season. Herb Jones, Trey Murphy and Jose Alvarado had wonderful rookie seasons. And of course, Zion Williamson is expected to return next year after a foot injury kept him sidelined for his third season. With another lottery pick joining them, New Orleans might have the best collection of young talent in all of basketball.