DeAndre Daniel’s draft stock will likely never be higher.
The junior just helped Connecticut win the national title. In nine American Athletic Conference and NCAA tournament games, he averaged 15.6 points and 7.4 rebounds – up from his full-season averages of 13.1 and 6.0, which are up from his sophomore numbers, which are up from his freshman numbers. He’s hitting his ceiling as an NBA prospect, and at 22, it would have been hard for him to stay ahead of the curve with the Huskies next season.
So, he’s entering the draft now.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
If the draft were held today, I’d peg Daniels as a late first-round pick. However, I expect some of his luster will wear off by June 26.
There’s a lot to like about Daniels, a 6-foot-9, 195-pound small forward. He shot 42 percent on 3-pointers this year, and he’s long and athletic. Averaging 1.4 blocks per game from his position, he’s shown impressive defensive potential.
But the question of consistency remains. Were his final nine games a true breakthrough or a fluke? Where does his 3-point shooting (28 percent his first two seasons) fall on that scale?
PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftblog.com and Rotoworld says a big key for Daniels will be getting “much stronger.” That’s not something that can happen overnight.
What can happen overnight is NBA decision-makers looking closer at Daniels’ full record and downgrading him slightly. If he remains in the first round, it wouldn’t be a reach. In the second round, he’d hold good value.
That Daniels straddles the first/second round line probably says more about the strength and depth of this draft class than him.