The Washington Wizards have the 10th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...
2022 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Profile: Dyson Daniels
Team: G-League Ignite
2021/22 stats: 14 G, 11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.7 bpg, 44.9 FG% (4.4/9.9), 25.5 3PT% (0.9/3.6), 73.7 FT% (1.0/1.4)
Player comparison: Dejounte Murray, Josh Giddey
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 10th, Sports Illustrated 8th, Ringer 14th, Athletic 10th, ESPN 9th, NBADraft.net 21st, Bleacher Report 11th
5 things to know:
-Daniels is one of the best point guards in this year's class and some might say the best, depending on what they think Jaden Ivey will be at the next level and how Daniels compares to TyTy Washington, who could also be drafted in his range. Daniels is big at 6-foot-7 in shoes and very versatile. He's a gifted passer, rebounder and defender. If Daniels reaches his potential, he could be the type of player who fills up the box score and flirts with triple-doubles on a regular basis.
-He is well-rounded to the extent it's hard to pinpoint his best trait. But comparative to the rest of this draft class, it may be his defense. As a big guard, he can switch onto different types of players and he's disruptive, as evidenced by his 1.9 steals per game. A good comparison for Daniels on the defensive end (so, minus the shooting) would be Klay Thompson of the Warriors. They have similar builds and, like Thompson, Daniels has the footwork and mindset to stay in front of ball-handlers. They both have a knack for knowing when to close out and when to contest a shot on the move. Thompson was All-Defense before his multiple surgeries.
-Daniels could be one of the better rebounding guards in the NBA. He averaged 6.2 boards per game in the G-League, which averaged out to 7.2 per-36 minutes. Wizards guards were 28th in the NBA last year in rebounds per game at the guard position, a steep drop-off from the year before when they ranked fourth with Russell Westbrook leading the way. Overall this past season, the Wizards were 23rd in total rebounding and 19th in rebounding percentage.
-The main question for Daniels would be his outside shooting, as he shot just 25.5% from long range in the G-League last year. That, however, was in a small sample size of 14 games, he's still very young and early in his development, plus he doesn't appear to have anything wrong with his shooting motion. It may be a tad slow, but he's tall enough to avoid it getting blocked. Another knock would be his lack of explosiveness, but he can finish with power, has good timing on putback slams and also had the fastest shuttle run at the combine, so he's quick even if he's not a high-flyer.
-Daniels is from Australia. His father, Ricky, is American and played two years at NC State University before going to Australia to play professionally. Daniels has a great feel for the game which may be the result of him being around basketball from a very young age.
Fit with Wizards:
Purely based on what the Wizards need and what he provides on paper, there may be no player in the 2022 NBA Draft that fits the Wizards better than Daniels. He's a point guard (check), he's a big guard (check), he defends (check) and he plays a pass-first style (check). He fits the exact archetype team president Tommy Sheppard and head coach Wes Unseld Jr. have described as their ideal floor general. The only thing missing is a 3-point shot, but he can develop one over time and his ability to set up teammates with accurate passes could also help that cause in the short term.
Daniels could develop into an ideal complement to Bradley Beal in the Wizards' backcourt. At 6-foot-7, he would help balance out their size with Beal at 6-foot-3. His defense would take pressure off of Beal, who is more offense-oriented. He could even switch over to twos and threes, allowing Beal to defend smaller guards. Ideally, Daniels would become a 3-point threat to give Beal more space and offset his recent drop in efficiency.
Again, though, all of this is on paper. The Wizards could very well see another player as having more upside long-term and pass on Daniels because of that. They also could determine Washington as the better point guard, if given the choice. But purely in terms of fit, Daniels may be the best option for them at the 10th pick, if he lasts that long.
If the Wizards did draft Daniels, it would probably make sense to add a veteran at the point guard spot, maybe as a bridge starter to keep the seat warm for Daniels to take over by the end of his rookie season or in Year 2. Even though he's very young (he turned 19 in March), his skillset and smarts suggest he could make an early impact. The playing time he earns would likely depend heavily on his shooting relative to the rest of the roster. If the Wizards could surround him with shooters, then it's less of a problem.
2022 NBA Draft profiles: