After two full seasons with the Houston Rockets has KJ McDaniels finally carved out a role on the team?
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels (32) scores a basket during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
That fledgling 76ers team ended up finishing a miserable (18-64) and you could always count on seeing some low lights when you turned on Sports Center. However, the one bright spot was watching KJ McDaniels. To wit, McDaniels would be spotted soaring up and rejecting shots via chase down blocks or slamming the rack with tremendous dunks.
When Daryl Morey made the trade I can still remember thinking to myself “this guy is going to be a steal, just wait.” Well 2 years and a $10 million dollar, 3 year extension later–we are still waiting.
While I never expected him to light up the scoreboard, I thought at best he might develop into a Tony Allen type player. Someone that could bring defensive grit to a Rockets team that desperately needed it. But, after multiple stints in the D-league and with a roster still in flux. The narrative now becomes where or if he belongs on this rockets team?
Could he see time behind Trevor Ariza at Small forward following Corey Brewer’s woeful season last year? Or can he be trusted to back up the oft-injured Eric Gordon? (Assuming Harden actually stays at the point consistently.)
With almost a 7 foot wingspan and a 37 inch vertical, it’s clear McDaniels has the measurements and skill to be a defensive force. Yet his multiple trips back and forth to the D-league last year might suggest otherwise. We’ve seen it work for players like Clint Capela, and Mcdaniels’ contract extensions shows the Rockets see something in him they like.
Time will tell whether or not he develops into a solid rotational player or if he is merely just another Morey trade chip.
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The Houston Rockets next game comes courtesy of their trip to China versus the New Orleans Pelicans, Sunday, October 9th at 6:30 AM CT.