Leading up to the NBA draft on June 23, Yahoo Sports will highlight top prospects. Today's prospect is G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels.
Who is Dyson Daniels?
Daniels is a 6-foot-7 combo guard out of Australia and made the move to America last year to play one season with the G League Ignite. Daniels grew up in Bendigo, Australia, (100 miles outside of Melbourne) and watched a lot of other Australians in the NBA growing up.
"I looked up to a lot of guys like Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova, those type of guys that I'm really close with," Daniels told Yahoo Sports. "For me, my favorite player in the NBA is Russell Westbrook with just the mentality he brings and the way he goes about his game."
This past season in the G League, the 19-year-old struggled to find his rhythm early on. He was challenged with facing older and stronger professionals but still showed glimpses of what he could bring to an NBA team. The second half the season, Daniels started reading the defense better off the pick-and-roll option off the wing and it opened up the spacing on the court for his teammates.
Dyson Daniels' strengths as a pro
Daniels averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals in 32 minutes during his 15-game season with the Ignite. Daniels was measured closer to 6-foot-8 in shoes at the combine and has grown two inches in the last year. His size as a primary and secondary ball-handler is what shot him up draft boards late in the season. Daniels has a natural feel for the game and doesn't try to force passes, patiently allowing what the defense gives him.
Defensively, he's faster than what meets the eye and is able to shoot the gap effectively on skip passes and drop down low to grab loose balls in the post.
Dyson Daniels' questions at the next level
As effective of a playmaker as Daniels is, his outside shooting needs some work and more consistency. He shot under 30% from 3-point range during the season and struggled with his shot selection. Daniels isn't as explosive as other guards projected at the top of the draft, but that doesn't seem to bother Daniels.
"I was never considered the fastest or quickest kid growing up," Daniels said. "Something I've worked on the last few months with my coaches is my quick first step, and I've put in a lot of work with my conditioning and change of speed."
It showed in a workout with the Wizards where Daniels became the first prospect to come through for pre-draft workouts since 2018 to finish the nearly impossible 20 lines in the two-minute drill.
"I touched the line right as the buzzer went and everyone went crazy in the gym," Daniels said while laughing.
What scouts are saying
His outside shot will continue to develop, but he's shown NBA personnel that he brings tremendous upside.
"Dyson is the type of player that can fit into a lot of different NBA systems," one NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. "He has great size, can come in as a secondary ball-handler and also possibly be an option on the wing with his versatility on and off the ball. He's a player that's just going to continue to improve and have a long NBA career."
Daniels is the second Australian to be picked in the lottery, following Josh Giddey, who the Oklahoma City Thunder selected with the sixth pick last year, and knows his emotions will be high on draft night.