For a second straight year, New Orleans added a player highly touted for his defensive prowess and potential during the NBA draft. This time, the Pelicans selected that player much earlier in the event. New Orleans chose 19-year-old guard Dyson Daniels with the No. 8 overall pick Thursday, after landing Herb Jones with a second-rounder (No. 35 overall) in 2021. Jones was the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year in his final season at Alabama and earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie second team.
Daniels, who played for the G League Ignite in 2021-22, hails from Australia and is 6-foot-8, 200 pounds. He’s described by NBA.com as “Playing with unique maturity on the defensive end, Daniels is a diligent competitor whose size gives him the ability to guard multiple positions. He has great instincts on the glass and in the passing lanes to go along with a rare dedication to being in the right spots off the ball for a player his age.”
“I’m just so happy to have my name called,” Daniels said of being drafted on ABC’s broadcast. “To be a Pelican, there’s no better place. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Asked about his defense Thursday, Daniels said, “That’s a big priority. That’s my main strength. If my offense isn’t going well, I can stay on the floor with my defense. I’m able to disrupt people, guard the ball, guard (all positions) sometimes. I definitely take a lot of pride on that end. I love to defend.”