Jan 28, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard K.J. McDaniels (14) misses a dunk after he was fouled during the fourth quarter of the game against the Detroit Pistons at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers beat the Pistons 89-69. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s a fun drinking game.. for every time you jump out of your seat or drop your jaw from watching this highlight tape, take a shot.
K.J McDaniels a rookie out of Clemson, was acquired in a trade that sent Isaiah Canaan and a 2015 second round pick to the 76ers 55 games into the season. By many, McDaniels was thought of as a immediate impact player off the bench for a competing Rockets squad. Sadly that was not the case.
“KJ McDaniels is a guy we tried to get since the draft, one of the highest potential young players in the league. Has elite athleticism and length, already playing at a strong level with Philly. He’s somebody we think will contribute down the road. With our veteran-laden team, it will be hard to break in right away.” per Daryl Morey.
McDaniels I believe was brought in as an insurance behind Corey Brewer if he were to leave Houston this off season.
Before joining the Rockets, McDaniels was already an elite defender at his position using his length and athleticism to holding opposing players to a 38.34 overall FG percentage. K.J also displayed extreme hustle chasing down fast break layups and sprinting over for the weak side rejection resulting in him ranking 1st in his position at Blocks per 100 chances per VantageSports.com.
McDaniels possess a suspect jumper but makes up for it by bullying his way to the rim and fearlessly flying in for offensive rebounds.
Watching K.J play reminds me of a young Jimmy Butler, a defensively minded athletic wing with a knack for being around the ball. If K.J can sustain his defensive effectiveness, develop his jumper and keep his turn over rate down, Houston has a potential star in the making. It would be a shame for such talent to be wasted sitting on the bench.
Next: Development Is Key