Projected NBA Position: SF
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Side Notes: Declared for the NBA after his junior year. Being at Clemson, McDaniels didn’t get much media attention, so he flew under the radar. Saw major improvement in all aspects of his game each year. DraftExpress has McDaniels going to the Chicago Bulls with the 19th pick of the first round. The forward was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year this year; as well as First Team All-ACC. His junior year stats: 17,1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, .459% FG, and 2.8 BPG.
Strengths: First off, McDaniels has way more positives than negatives so far that I’ve seen. Very raw prospect; with tons of potential. His athleticism is unquestionable, almost non-human, also drives to the rim with ease. Driving is one thing, but he can also finish. High flyer; Almost a guarantee you will see him in the Dunk Contest. Like Adreian Payne out of MSU, McDaniels is an explosive forward. Has no problem getting to the foul line (shot .842% from the line this year). If you look at his sophomore season his FT % was .684%. Not only did that improve, his rebounding improved by a little more than two rebounds per game. “Run and Gun” type of player; lives off of the transition game. Excellent defender with the ability to guard multiple positions. Premium shot-blocker (2.8 BPG his junior year). Not afraid to crash the glass. Outstanding perimeter defender.
Weaknesses: Very inconsistent three-point shooter. Just above .300% from behind the arc. Settles for jump shots in traffic way too often; known to take a few bad shots a game. Ball-handling can/should need improvement, especially for the NBA level. A bit undersized, sitting at 6’6, but nonetheless is a true small forward. Post defense is an issue against bigger players. Will need schooling for the half-court offense.
NBA Player Comparison: Jimmy Butler, Wesley Johnson
Summary: One of my favorite prospects, McDaniels can be a solid role-player on any team. However, can he convert to more of a half-court offense like Chicago? I’m not sure just yet. Reminds me of Jimmy Butler because of his athleticism and defense; while both can drive to the rim easily, they settle for unneeded jump shots. McDaniels will NOT be a “plug in and play” player. He will need a few years to be groomed and to develop a consistent three-point shot. Like I said earlier, DraftExpress has McDaniels going to the Chicago Bulls with the 19th pick. In my opinion, if Adreian Payne is still on the board, I’m taking him instead. Below is some highlights of K.J McDaniels.
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