I classify NBA Draft prospects into two camps:
1) Will they wind up on the Spurs and torture me for fifteen years?
2) Or won't they?
The Spurs are an adorable team. I admire the way they age like Heather Locklear, pummeling teams for more than a decade through obnoxious concepts like "ball movement" and "team basketball." I love that the only way to carbon date Manu Ginobili is by measuring the circumference of his bald spot.
K.J. McDaniels falls into the first camp. He could be part of that next lineage of unbearable Spurs. He could evolve into a potential "3 and D" guy - a guy who can absolutely defend and maybe develop a jump shot through the healing powers of the San Antonio River. Looking into my Magic 8-Ball, McDaniels will spend the next ten years camped out in the corner, along with the other Spurs who haven't been covered since the Clinton Administration, raining threes down on the NBA with the ferocity of a thousand locusts.
NBA Draft Series!
K.J. McDaniels only shot 30% from behind the arc last season, but Draft Express doesn't think his jumper is a lost cause:
McDaniels can't be classified as a non-shooter, as his 1.7 makes per-40p from beyond the arc ranks a respectable 7th among small forwards in our top-100 prospects. He's relatively reliable with his feet set and a glimmer of daylight (41%), and hits a terrific 87% of his free throw attempts (3rd best among all top-100 prospects), which leaves some room for optimism. He's athletic enough to rise up and create separation from defenders, which helps him in off the dribble situations, he just needs to speed up his release and improve his ball-handling ability to further take advantage of this skill.
McDaniels' defense, though, is his calling card. He averaged over one steal a game and a healthy 2.8 blocks. DX (the site, not the rebellious wrestling faction) believe that McDaniels could cover up to four positions, thanks in large part to his 6'11" wingspan. That's big time, especially considering that the Sixers rostered 28 guys who couldn't cover any position last season. He also recorded the fastest Three-Quarter Court Sprint time during the NBA Combine at 3.1 seconds, which immediately reminded me of this Seinfeld exchange:
Jerry: Hey, guess what! Little Jerry ran from here to Newman's in under thirty seconds!
George: Is that good?
Jerry: I don't know.
I love athletic guys who just terrorize teams on the defensive end. Hell, I had a fantasy basketball team paced by Walter Hermann that was named, "Active Hands." We preach that here in the Delaware Valley.
"K.J., could you give us a hand here? Marc and I are trying to lock all windows and doors."
Again from Draft Express:
McDaniels has outstanding physical attributes for a NBA prospect, standing 6-6, with an excellent frame, long arms, and arguably the best athleticism of any wing player in the draft not named Andrew Wiggins. He's as explosive a leaper as you'll find, being responsible for some of the most impressive highlight reel plays of the college season thus far.
Even though I've pegged McDaniels as a Spurs-type prospect, he likely won't fall to San Antonio. DX has him going at #22 to the Grizzlies, which makes complete sense because Memphis loves their athletic wing defenders more than they love Jerry Lawler. But he's in that range - that low 20's range - where maybe the Sixers and Hinkievoss can do some wheelin' and dealin' (and maybe some struttin' and cuttin' if there's time).
Please direct all your questions and concerns regarding McDaniels to Derek.
K.J. McDaniels 2014 Scouting Video (via DraftExpress)