G-League PG Dyson Daniels could also be NBA draft choice for Knicks

CHICAGO — Is Dyson Daniels a point guard?

As NBA personnel men gathered inside Wintrust Arena on Wednesday for the first day of draft combine workouts and measurements, a big question they had regarding Daniels, a fascinating lottery prospect, is whether or not he could be considered a point guard.

Born and raised in Australia, Daniels, 19, came to the United States to play for the G-League Ignite, an entry in the G-League that serves as an alternative to college ball. Daniels spurned a chance to play in the Australian professional league (NBL), feeling the Ignite was better NBA exposure.

Though Daniels is listed at 6-foot-8, G-League head coach Jason Hart saw him as a floor general. And that’s what Daniels did this season. The Knicks will select 11th in the June 23 draft and the defense-minded Daniels is one of their considerations because he still might be on the board. The Knicks have attended Ignite practices.

“I wanted to show NBA people he was a point guard,” Hart told The Post during Wednesday’s workouts. “So now when he gets drafted, they can put him in another position, but I think he’s a point guard because he can guard them. And he’s a natural pass-first type guy. So I played him at point guard. That’s what he looked at me. I was a point guard. And he had the same qualities point guards have. He just happened to be 6-7 [Daniels measured 6-7 ¹/₂ in shoes Wednesday].

Dyson Daniels
AP

“He’s very cerebral and makes the right, smart, basic play,” added Hart, who played at Syracuse and in the NBA with eight teams. “In basketball it’s equivalent to hitting a lot of singles. He’s always on base.”

While it sounds like a broken record going on 25 years, the Knicks need a playmaking point guard. There weren’t many of those who shined as NBA prospects during the NCAA season.

In his year with the Ignite, Daniels played 26 games, averaged 12.0 points, 5.1 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals. He shot 46.3 percent overall — but just 30.3 percent from 3-point range.

During drills, Daniels posted a 2.95 shuttle run time that would have been tops at last year’s combine.

“He’s a young player with a lot of wisdom and know-how,” Hart said. “That’s why a lot of NBA teams are intrigued by him. He knows how to do a lot of things to make a successful team. With his size, skill set and being an elite defender, he has the upside where his offense will catch up.”

Indeed, his 3-point shooting will need polishing.

“He doesn’t have a messed-up form. He just needs reps. It’s not too many NBA players can come in shooting the 3 elite, even those who shot them well in college. Corey Kispert [the former Gonzaga star now with the Wizards] didn’t shoot it well and he’s a shooter,” Hart said. “[Daniels] just needs reps and time. When that develops, it will open up his game even more.

“He’s very intriguing,” Hart added. “Because he can a do a little bit of everything. And he’s a nice kid. So that’s attractive.”

Dyson Daniels
Dyson Daniels plays defense for G League Ignite.
NBAE via Getty Images

Daniels’ father, Ricky, played at North Carolina State and played professionally in Australia. The son grew up in the rural town of Bendigo, Australia. And he’s proud to be from Down Under, where he attended high school at the NBA Global Academy in Melbourne.

Quiet at first, Daniels opened up as the season went on, according to Hart.

“That’s what he takes pride in — that he’s from Australia,” Hart said. “He doesn’t try to act like he’s from here. It’s comfortable to be who you are.

“His talent and desire to become a really good player is evident and that’s why he came here to take that challenge.”

The Ignite are based in Walnut, Calif., but play their home games at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. So Daniels is used to the bright lights. Sources said he loves New York and spent a few days in Manhattan after the Ignite faced the Long Island Nets.

NBA
Dyson Daniels leaps during the NBA draft combine
NBAE via Getty Images

Daniels will speak with the media Thursday.

“I don’t worry about him getting in trouble because he was in Vegas,” Hart said. “Vegas is a lot going on. I feel he’s a top-10 pick, but anywhere 1-to-30 is good.”

“He’s got feel, skill and sneaky athleticism,” one scout said.

The Ignite could have five players drafted, including a mid-to-late first-round prospect, “3-and-D” type MarJon Beauchamp. He’d be a possibility if the Knicks trade back.

Hart is hoping five Ignite players get drafted. There were three last year, including Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

“That would be eight draft picks in two years — more than any college,” Hart said.

.

Leave a Comment