Daniels, who was born in Australia, averaged 11.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.9 steals last season with the NBA G League Ignite. He emerged as perhaps the top prospect on the team and is considered one of the best perimeter defenders in this rookie class.
Though known as a defender, Daniels’ biggest weakness is perhaps his shooting after converting 30% from 3-point range with the Ignite. In order to improve in that area, Daniels worked extensively with Pelicans assistant coach Fred Vinson.
I have an all-around game but I’ve been focusing on my shot, for sure. A lot of hours in the gym with our shooting coach, Fred, before and after practice and coming back at night. I’ve been working on my finishing, ball-handling skills and stuff like that; getting in the gym and putting on some size. Those are probably the main things I’ve been focusing on but, obviously, I’ve been doing other stuff just to make sure I keep my all-around game.
Daniels started playing basketball at 15 in Australia. He started in the South East Australian Basketball League and eventually moved to the NBA Academy, the same program that Josh Giddey attended. There, he developed into a strong defender with an evolving offensive game.
The 19-year-old enlisted 17-year NBA veteran Rod Strickland last year to help with his handles. He improved throughout the season with the Ignite and eventually developed into a strong lead guard. The decision to work with Strickland further illustrated how much he wanted to improve.
That characteristic is evident to Pelicans head coach Willie Green.
The sky is the limit. He is another Jose-mentality, Herb Jones, Trey (Murphy III), Brandon (Ingram). He has that mentality that he wants to work and get better. I’m thankful that we were able to draft him and that he was there because he has got some tools. Hopefully, we can work him in some way but it is exciting to see what he can bring.
Daniels was limited to just eight minutes in summer league due to an ankle injury but worked quickly to get better and back into the gym. He has spent much of the offseason in New Orleans working to be in game shape and feels ready now.
A lot of work on the floor for me, a lot of getting in shape and getting in the gym. A lot of time before practice and after practice working on my jump shot….