Dyson Daniels Scouting Report: Strengths, Weaknesses and Spurs Outlook

When it comes time for the San Antonio Spurs to make the 9th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft, there’s a strong chance that Dyson Daniels will be a prospect under heavy consideration. The 19-year-old from Australia is extremely fundamentally sound and was productive across the board last season in the G League. 

Dyson is sixth in the latest Spurs Big Board and went seventh in Mock Draft 1.0. Here’s a closer look at his strengths, weaknesses and how he’d fit on the Spurs.

The Case For Drafting Dyson Daniels

The primary draw for drafting Dyson Daniels is his defense. He’s already an outstanding individual defender who moves his feet extremely well. His anticipation is fantastic and he has the toughness to hold his ground. No other perimeter player in the draft is as ready to be an immediate impact defender. 

Daniels’ also offers timely help on defense and racks up deflections, steals and blocks by the bushel. It’s obvious that he’s had great coaching because he knows how to play angles and can be counted on to make high basketball IQ plays time and time again.

At 6-foot-7.5 with a 6-foot-10.5 wingspan, Daniels will be able to defend at least three positions. As he fills out, it’s only a matter of time before he can defend four positions. Only traditional centers are likely to remain outside his realm of defensive competence.

Offensively, Daniels’ main asset is his passing. He sees the court well, processes the game quickly and reliably hits open teammates. He has played point guard for the majority of his career up until this point and his ability to run offensive sets is advanced. He keeps his head up when he’s on the move and can spot cracks in the defense before they materialize. 

Scoring-wise, Daniels is most effective when on the move. He’s a courageous finisher at the rim, boasts a reliable floater and utilizes his size well to finish over smaller defenders. While his perimeter shooting isn’t a strength yet, he’s a willing shooter when given an open look from beyond the three-point arc.

Daniels gets high marks for his coachability and his character. He’s regarded as a great teammate who thrives in any role he finds himself in. When it comes to intangibles — including everything from how hard he works off the court to his natural feel for the game on the court — Daniels receives glowing reviews. 

The Case Against Dyson Daniels

Shooting is the biggest worry with regard to how Dyson Daniels’ game will translate to the NBA. While he shot threes better at the end of the G League campaign, he hit only 27.3% of his three-pointers and 52.5% of his free throws on the season. The release on his jumper is slow and his current mechanics don’t allow him to shoot accurately from off the bounce, which obviously limits his offensive production. Can Daniels be an asset on offense if he doesn’t drastically improve his shooting? It’s doubtful.

Daniels has a below average first step and isn’t a powerful leaper, which results in an extremely low free throw rate. He doesn’t shy away from contact but he also struggles to put pressure on defenders. Add in his lack of a reliable jumper and there’s a chance opposing defenses would get away with just ignoring his presence on the court.

How much upside does Daniels have left? He has already mastered the nuances of the sport so his upside might be more limited than most 19 year olds. 

There was a lot of talk in recent weeks that Daniels would measure 6-foot-8 at the combine. Instead, he was 6-foot-6 without shoes and weighed less than 200 pounds. Those measurements are far from a deal-breaker but he doesn’t have elite size and length for any position other than point guard — and that’s unlikely to be his full-time position in the NBA.

Dyson Daniels: Spurs Outlook

Assuming that Dyson Daniels’ jumper is salvageable, he appears destined to be a hybrid of Derrick White and Kyle Anderson. I think he could start early in his career due to the maturity of his skill set. While the Spurs shouldn’t weigh current roster fit too highly when making their lottery pick, it’s difficult to ignore how well Daniels would fit in a starting lineup next to Dejounte Murray and Devin Vassell. Those three together could wreak defensive havoc. 

Overall, I think Daniels is a safe pick at 9 as long as the Spurs take a close look at the jumper and see ways to fix it. If he can become a league average three-point shooter, he’ll likely blossom into a fixture and a key part of the franchise’s long-term foundation. Daniels wouldn’t be better than the third or fourth best player on a contending team but he’s the type of player whose strengths directly impact winning on a nightly basis.