Skip to main content

Pelicans Season Preview: Keeping Talented Rookie Dyson Daniels Off The Court Will Be Tall Task

Even on a deep and talented roster, rookie guard/forward Dyson Daniels has an opportunity to become a major contributor to the success of the Pelicans this season.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

“Dyson was our guy, from the outset, that I thought would be a really good fit with the players we have here - he’s going to grow into a great player in this league.” That was the message from New Orleans Pelicans General Manager Trajan Langdon ever since the 8th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft was made official.

Player Name: Dyson Daniels

Height: 6-8

Pos: Guard

2021-22 Stats (G-League): 11.3 pts, 6.2 reb, 4.4 ast, 1.9 stl, 0.7 blk

Typically, drafting a player with the eighth pick means that a team expects them to contribute immediately. That isn’t the case for Dyson Daniels. The 19-year-old Australian joins the New Orleans Pelicans as a luxury, considering that the team returns every player from last season’s playoff run while adding Zion Williamson to the mix.

Though Daniels doesn’t fill any glaring, short-term needs for the Pels, he brings a high level of skill and basketball IQ to the roster. With several players capable of scoring 20 points or more on a given night, Daniels will be asked to make an impact defensively when the season begins. On the offensive end, he can be a tremendous facilitator in both transition and half-court sets.

He’s capable of finishing around the rim, and even if Daniels never turns into a 40 percent shooter from deep, he can still be an effective weapon in the mid-range during his career.

But that’s looking down the road. This season, Daniels understands that any minutes he gets will be dependent on how well he defends opposing wing players. Daniels demonstrated exactly the mindset you’d want to hear in draft night interviews.

“I think I can step on a floor straight away and contribute because I love to defend, to get deflections and steals and play with high energy,” he said back in June.

His maturity isn’t a concern and he has already impressed in early practices reaffirming early ideas that, even on this talented playoff-caliber squad, it would be hard to keep him off of the floor.

When he does play, Daniels will attack defensively in an attempt to get the Pelicans’ versatile group of athletes out into transition. Don’t expect the rookie to get consistent minutes this season. Not with Willie Green likely turning to his veterans as the team tries to start the year with the continuity it was unable to generate for more than a quarter of last season.

There will be turnovers and struggles. There will be missed defensive assignments and nights when the physical transition is difficult. But ultimately, fans should expect Dyson Daniels to play his best basketball when it matters most. Expect similar growth to what was seen by last year’s rookie trio of Herb Jones, Trey Murphy III, and Jose Alvarado.

From there, it appears the sky is the limit. 

Read More Pelicans News: