Let's face it, DeAndre Daniels, more than Shabazz Napier and maybe even Niels Giffey, needs to land in the right spot. His performance at the end of the season was eye-opening, no question. He took all those glimpses of greatness we had seen throughout his three years and turned them into a month-long showcase of talent.
He was terrific, and as great as Shabazz and Ryan Boatright were during March, the Huskies don't win their fourth title without him.
Yet, here's the thing: Is there any doubt that the "where the hell is Daniels?" split personality is still in there somewhere? Even with his breakout March, he still turned in a rather pedestrian, somewhat perplexingly subpar Championship Game performance. He's still an enigma.
That's why going someplace that will value his unique skills but also give him time to blossom would be huge.
It appears Daniels is destined for the second round, which means the mock draft people aren't much help. Few of the talking heads spend much time worrying about the second round, so finding predictions about Daniels' landing spot can be tough.
DraftExpress has him going at 47 to the 76ers, as does NBADraft.net. NBA.com has Daniels landing at 41 with the Nuggets while Zach Harper with CBS has him going just outside the first round, at 33 to the Cavaliers.MyNbaDraft.com, which purports to take a look at several different sites and come to a "consensus" has Daniels landing with the Mavericks at 34.
Part of me thinks that the 76ers would be an interesting landing spot for Daniels. That team is dreadful and is basically rebuilding. In that situation, it's not hard to imagine him getting significant playing time right off the bat, even as a second rounder.
But, honestly, how much confidence do you have in the Philadelphia 76ers to be good anytime soon? Certain franchises are routinely successful while others seem to spend all their time in the NBA Draft lottery. Philly would seem to be one of those teams. Aside from some of the Allen Iverson/Larry Brown years, the 76ers have been dreadful. Is that going to change anytime soon?
And how, exactly, does Daniels grow as a player on a team with so much youth? He won't.
That's why I agree with MyNBADraft.com and their "consensus." The Mavericks, I believe, would be a great landing spot. It's a successful franchise with a great and committed owner (Mark Cuban), terrific coach (Rick Carlisle) and a roster of veteran players. Undoubtedly, because of the age on that team and the fact that they were ousted from the playoffs in Round 1 this year (albeit after taking the eventual champs to seven games) there will definitely be changeover, but there's no question Dirk Nowitzki will be there as will some other experienced, talented players.
The Mavericks seem to always have lanky, multi-talented players on their team, and Daniels fits the mold. He could learn from some of the best, ease into a role on the team, and be there as the Mavs retool. He can become a better player while learning what it takes to be a pro.
As a second rounder, he'll have to make a team and hold his spot. The Mavs, with their penchant for molding role players with similar skill sets as Daniels might be just what the doctor ordered.