Scouting Profile: K.J. McDaniels
With the draft fast approaching, we will be taking a look at potential draft prospects with writers who have covered the prospects in college or -- in the case of international prospects -- spent a great deal of time scouting them. Today we’ll look at KJ McDaniels (F - Clemson) with the help of SB Nation NBA draft guru Tyler Lashbrook (@lashy).
What are his strengths? Weaknesses?
McDaniels is behind only Andrew Wiggins as the best athlete on the wing in this draft, and he has the perfect frame (6'6, 6'11.25 wingspan) to defend small forwards. He used that frame and athleticism to put up huge numbers on the defensive end (1.1 steals, 2.8 blocks per game). He's extremely active on the offensive glass and scored over 20 points per 40 minutes, despite being pretty raw on that end.
He isn't a non-threat from behind the arc, but he still isn't a reliable shooter from deep, and he isn't a good enough ball handler to create much more than straight-line drives. He improved as a passer in his junior season, but he still turns the ball over more than he registers assists. He's a freak athlete, but his skills still haven't caught up.
How do you think his game translates to the NBA?
He'll be able to defend immediately on the wing, but it's going to be tough to play him, if he doesn't become at least a reliable jump shooter. I am, however, encouraged by his 84 percent stroke from the free throw line. I typically believe that's a good indicator whether or not a guy can learn to shoot, so that's good.
What style of play do you think he'd be most comfortable in?
He'd work best on a team that likes to get out and run, where he can best use his athleticism.
What NBA player would you compare him to?
A better Jeffrey Taylor/shorter DeMarre Carroll. He plays with that relentless Carroll style. But he's not nearly the shooter Carroll is at this point.
What do you see as his NBA ceiling (All-Star/Starter/Spot-Starter/Rotation Player)?
He could become a spot starter on certain rosters, but he's most likely a rotation guy.
What was his most memorable performance from this season?
I remember him dominating Notre Dame on both ends of the floor in the middle of the season; the best part was that he hit several long range shots.
Reporter: Robby Kalland