Apr 7, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Connecticut Huskies head coach Kevin Ollie celebrates with forward DeAndre Daniels (2) after they beat the Kentucky Wildcats in the championship game of the Final Four in the 2014 NCAA Mens Division I Championship tournament at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Is DeAndre Daniels going to help Toronto Raptors?

Apr 13, 2014; Hartford, CT, USA; Connecticut Huskies forward DeAndre Daniels (2) and forward Breanna Stewart (30) and guard/forward Niels Giffey (5) look on during the UConn Mens and Womens Victory Celebration at the Connecticut State Capital. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors’ selection in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft was even more of an afterthought than these people usually are. DeAndre Daniels’ name was quickly scrawled down, then forgotten as attention returned to finding out something…anything…about the Raps’ #20 selection, Bruno Caboclo. Yet the #37 pick out of the University of Connecticut may be more than a perennial Development League mainstay. Is it possible our second selection may make the big team while the first one won’t?

Daniels is 22 years old, considerably older than most of the kids in the draft, and spent 3 years in college. He’s a rake-thin 6’8″ tall, carrying just 195 lbs. on an underdeveloped frame. He’s not going to leap out of the gym, though he’s athletic enough. DeAndre gets his shots off well, as he utilizes a high release point while fading away, both of which I like (though his feet aren’t together and pointed at the target, which I don’t). However, he struggles attacking the basket. He doesn’t make sound decisions while being tightly covered on his drives, and is further limited by a poor left hand. That lack of capability also affects his dribbling, which he seems to avoid. He won’t get an NBA job unless he improves his overall ball handling, as he can’t create his own shot. Being able to pick-&-pop is fine, but insufficient.

DeAndre’s defense is solid, but no more. He’s active, and blocks shots at a respectable rate. His lack of strength allows his opponents to get to “their” spot seemingly at will, which makes them more dangerous. I haven’t seen evidence of great rebounding instinct, but he boxes out reasonably well, and that’s half the battle.

While we might imagine DeAndre is more ready than Bruno to crack the lineup, I think that’s a remote possibility as of this writing. He needs a solid summer league performance, and many hours in the weight room, before he’s truly ready to challenge the incumbent small forwards. What’s more likely is him getting a training camp invitation following an active summer, then a season at Bakersfield with the Jam.

DeAndre helped his team win the NCAA championship, so he’s no stiff. He will need to find a skill he can build his career on, as he’s OK at everything and great at nothing currently. I like the pick, but I’d be very (pleasantly!) surprised if he were to emerge as anything more than a rotation-grade SG/SF.


Tags: 2014 NBA Draft DeAndre Daniels Toronto Raptors

  • Slap Dog Hoops

    Personally I thought that was a waste of a draft pick getting another guard where there were so many other more viable options to be had in the second round such as Melvin Ejim, Jordan Baschynski, or even Sim Bhullar. The Raptors could have gotten a real gem, but settled for small change.

    • LuckyMystery

      The guy 6 foot 9, most definitely not a guard. Not sure why the hard on for Canadian players. No one else thought them worthy of pick why would the Raps waste the number 37

      • Newmarket_Brian

        Hi Lucky:
        I realize you were responding to SDH, but I’ll jump in anyway. Do you like the Daniels pick?

        • LuckyMystery

          Yeah whats not to like at 37. He’s a national champion, he’s 22 so he played 3 years of college ball already. He has some work, he has to put on some weight and like the article said he needs to work on his dribbling. But both are attainable, and if he works he could be a solid bench player.

          The draft is a crapshoot, if a second rounder turns into anything it’s a good pick, but just to pick canadians or suggest to pick canadians just because you have no clue is silly.

          • Newmarket_Brian

            Hi Lucky:
            SDH can look after himself, but I can tell you his opinions are valuable and insightful, and I look forward to his comments. He doesn’t mention Canadians explicitly; is it possible it’s no more than coincidence that the players he mentioned do have our passport?
            Daniels does have a lot of work to do. I hope he’ll show us something over the next few months.
            Thanks for responding to my question.

          • rapsfan

            SDH did only mention Canadian players in his post. Melvim Ejim was born in Toronto, Jordan Bachynski was born in Calgary and Sim Bhullar emigrated to Toronto from India early in his life

          • Newmarket_Brian

            Hi rapsfan:
            I think we’re tripping over the blue line here. I know the 3 players are Canadian, but my point was that nowhere in SDH’s comment did he use the word “Canadian”. All I was suggesting is the possibility that the 3 players he liked, and wished the Raps had drafted, were all Canadian by coincidence, not by plan. It’s a backhanded compliment to them.
            Thanks for dropping by.

  • Trevor LeSueur

    The Raptors still have a lot to figure out at their 3 spot. a) they’re probably still in the hunt in free agency at the position and b) if Bruno will be in the nba or not next year and is someone like landry fields finally going to be healthy enough to be effective. Also as we saw during the Raptors success last season, they were running a pretty tight ship regarding rotation while sometimes playing 9 guys the whole game.

    What Daniels can prove in Summer League will be a huge determining factor to whether or not he can contribute. He could come as a surprise and shock us all with his ability and find decent minutes (12-15) but that’s best case scenario. To me I see his playing time being similar to former 2nd round pick Quincy Acy unless he can really prove something in Summer League.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Trevor:
      Masai has so many things to work out, and you’re right that the 3-spot is one of them. Now that Lowry has agreed to return, I suspect our GM will turn his attention to how deep the team truly is on the wing. Fields’ health is one of many question marks.
      I’d do everything possible to move Fields, even for prospects, and hope that Daniels will prove to be a pleasant surprise. I like guys from winning programs.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  • Newmarket_Brian

    Hi leonidas:
    Apologies to you, too. Your Comment got caught in our “Awaiting Approval” tab; I don’t know why.
    I don’t mind the thought of Daniels in Europe for a season, although I’d rather have him in the D-League. If the big team suffers the injury bug, we may need him in a hurry, and the D-League is far better to pull players from than Europe. Those guys are finally within their rights to say “no”.
    Thanks for asking the question. He’s another reason why pre-season games are going to be more interesting than usual.