In these tough economic times, Dyson Daniels’ stock is one of the few on the rise.
The 6-foot-8 Australian point guard entered the NBA Draft Combine last month as a safe bet to be available when the Knicks pick at No. 11.
But the 19-year-old G-League Ignite all-around defender impressed in Chicago. His Pro Day was electric and he measured 6-7 ¹/₂ without shoes. He may just be out of reach for the Knicks — like when Chris Duarte’s stock soared in the last draft.
Dressed in a pink sweatshirt after a group practice with the Knicks on Monday, Daniels doesn’t want to get caught up in where he lands.
“I don’t pay too much attention to whether stocks go up or down,” Daniels said. “At the end of the day, the team chooses you, not the media. So I just go over there and play my game. If I have to go up, I’ll go up. If I have to fall, I will fall. But I’ll do my best.”
In the end, he will have worked with five clubs in front of the Knicks in Portland (7), Indiana (6), Detroit (5), Washington (10) San Antonio (9) and New Orleans (8).
“I’m just enjoying my trip,” Daniels said. “As a kid I always wanted to play in the NBA, I’m enjoying every moment. Going past all these scouts, it’s a great place.”
The teenager whose American father played professionally in Australia checks a lot of boxes for the Knicks. He’s an elite defender with a high basketball IQ and a smart passer.
G-League Ignite coach Jason Hart played him at point guard this season because he feels he can have the most impact there, especially for the Knicks. .
After a season in which the Kemba Walker-Derrick Rose duo has turned into an absolute disaster, Knicks president Leon Rose is desperate for a point guard.
“I think growing up I was a real playmaker, just the way I make plays, the way I see the floor, my IQ and my height as well,” Daniels said. “So I think I can definitely play the position and add value on the defensive end as well. So if that’s the position they want me to play, that’s what I’m here for.
Additionally, Daniels considers himself a defensive savant with his quick hands, comparing himself to Mikal Bridges and Alex Caruso.
“Defense is my strength,” Daniels said. “I will bring it to every game. I will go there and keep the best players. This is my most NBA ready skill. New York, you have a very defensive team and Coach Thibs is an excellent coach. If it is my role in this team if I am selected, I will play this role for sure. ”
Monday’s six-man practice included three lottery picks in Ohio State sniper Malaki Branham and Kentucky point guard TyTy Washington. It is rare for three lottery choices to be grouped together in the same scrimmage/workout.
“I think it went well,” Daniels said. “I showed everything I could do. These workouts are short and quick [one-plus hours]. They have a glimpse of what you can do. I think I showed a bit of everything I can do and the versatility.”
The Knicks interviewed Daniels and Branham in Chicago, but not in Washington. This could be a pecking order clue.
Growing up in Bendigo in rural Australia, Daniels’ background is satisfyingly diverse, having attended high school at the NBA Global Academy and playing professional ball with some much older guys in Germany. He turned down a handful of offers from mid-tier colleges to take the G-League Ignite route that prepares prospects for the pros without the classes.
He’s the shiny new thing teams are looking for – being able to hold multiple positions. The Celtics have made this fashionable.
“It’s the versatility,” Daniels said. “I can play 1-4. I can handle the ball, I can pass the ball, so I think my main strength is at the PG position but I can adapt to any situation and also play with the ball. I think that’s why my shot has come a long way.
Everything looks perfect, except he’s not a natural 3-point shooter (30.3%) and will have to work on that. NBA scouts are hoping he improves in that area more than compatriot Ben Simmons, now with the Nets.
“He doesn’t have a messed up form,” Hart told the Post in Chicago. “He just needs reps.”
According to the source, Hart would like to see Daniels end up in New York, thinking it would be strong publicity for the Ignite. The question is whether he leaves the top 10.