What Troy Daniels brings to the Denver Nuggets

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

The Denver Nuggets have added an elite 3-point shooter as the team prepares for the stretch run of the 2019-20 regular season. Following the departure of Malik Beasley, Denver has had a need for more shooting and floor-spacing, which has come in the form of Troy Daniels.

Although he may not be considered a well-known player, Daniels has played in 333 games across a seven-year career, most recently as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

With career averages of 6.6 points per game and 39.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc, it’s very clear what Daniels brings to the table on a nightly basis. During his 41 games with Los Angeles this season, 70.9 percent of his shot attempts were 3-pointers, which was actually lower than his career 3-point attempt rate!

Yes, you read that right.

The 28-year-old guard has attempted 73.4 percent of his shots from downtown in his career, which should be music to Denver’s ears given the team’s struggles in that department. The Nuggets currently rank 26th in 3-point attempts per game and 17th in 3-point percentage.

It’s fitting that Daniels’ first breakout moment in the NBA came on a clutch 3-pointer all the way back in 2014:

Given the role Daniels will likely have in Denver (that of a 3-point specialist to provide a spark for the offense), the Nuggets should benefit from his ability to take and make plenty of threes.

In each of his eight seasons, Daniels has increased his team’s frequency of 3-point attempts when he’s been on the floor, while his 35.7 percent shooting from downtown this season is actually the lowest percentage he has posted in any season in his career (the previous low was 36.4 percent in 2014-15).

In 2017-18, Daniels posted his best numbers as a regular rotation player for the Phoenix Suns. The undrafted guard averaged 8.9 points per game and shot 40 percent from deep, which included nearly 41 percent shooting on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers. Imagining Daniels receiving open catch-and-shoot opportunities playing alongside impressive playmaking big men such as Nikola Jokić and Mason Plumlee is certainly an intriguing thought.

It should also be pointed out that Daniels also shot 41.1 percent on pull-up 3-pointers, although those accounted for just 24 percent of his total attempts from downtown. The 2017-18 season also saw Daniels drop a career-high 32 points in a game in which he knocked down seven 3-pointers, showcasing his ability to get hot in a game.

As a result of his play that season, it’s no surprise that Phoenix’s offense was better when Daniels was on the court that year.

While Daniels has struggled inside the arc (specifically around the rim, where he has finished 44.9 percent of his shots throughout his career), Daniels has playoff experience and brings exactly what Denver needs to the table.

The former VCU Ram has appeared in 14 playoff games across three trips to the playoffs, where he has maintained his elite 3-point shooting. The journeyman has shot 40.7 percent in the postseason, with none being more important than his go-ahead shot in Game 3 of the Houston Rockets’ first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers back in 2014 (It should also be pointed out that Daniels was playing in just his sixth NBA game when he knocked down that clutch jumper).

As a result of the timing of this signing, Daniels will be eligible to play in the 2020 playoffs for Denver.

Daniels will not be counted on to create opportunities for teammates or lockdown opposing guards on the defensive end. From time to time, teams simply need to add a specific skill to their roster and for the Nuggets, this has come in the form of Daniels’ elite 3-point shooting. Over the remaining 21 games, look for Daniels to provide floor-spacing and serve as an offensive spark plug when Denver finds itself in a slump on any given night.

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