Rockets News

The Understated Importance of Troy Daniels Development

By Brett David Roberts

Apr 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Troy Daniels (30) reacts after making a basket during the second quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Daniels may not be the best player to come out of the D-League (Gerald Green certainly would have to hold this honor thus far), but he is one of the most celebrated.

During the 2014 playoffs, he stepped up in a major way, hitting game tying and winning shots.

Daniels connected on 53 percent of his three-point attempts. In game 3, he knocked down the winner.

His standout game came in Game 4 when he scored 17 points on just seven field goal attempts. All seven were three-pointers, of which he nailed five. Daniels only played significant minutes in Games 3, 4 and 5—but he had played just five games in the regular season after having spent the bulk of the year in the D-League.

Daryl Morey wisely elected to re-sign the four year VCU product. Daniels showed his marksmanship in college, hitting 38.1 percent from three as a junior and 40.3 percent as a senior. And it’s not reasonable to expect him to hit over 50 percent for a season. But if he consistently shot 40 percent he would be a valuable commodity over the bench. Moreover, we already know he is not one to shy away from taking big shots (and hitting them). This is not a trait that all players have.

Mar 17, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard Troy Daniels (30) shoots over Saint Louis Billikens defenders during the first half in the championship game of the Atlantic 10 at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The ultimate upside of Daniels is tough to project. He is only 23 years old, so there is time for Daniels to further hone is game and even become a starter eventually. At this point, he likely will sit ahead of Nick Johnson on the depth chart. And the departure of Jeremy Lin will open up further opportunity for the 6’4” guard. In the D-League, he averaged 21.5 points per game, so he won’t be afraid to shoot the ball when given the opportunity, a classic 2-guard.

Morey has done a good job of corralling bargain basement players, the most notable of course being Chandler Parsons who made under $3 million in his three seasons as a Rocket. Expect the Rockets to get big bang for their buck on Daniels, too.