NBA stars, experts and fans shower Aussie No.8 draft pick Dyson Daniels with praise

Dyson Daniels has been tipped to make waves in the NBA after the Australian was selected with the eighth overall pick of the 2022 Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

The teenager joins the likes of Luc Longley, Andrew Bogut, Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey in an elite group of nine other Aussies to be drafted in the top 10 of their respective NBA draft years.

And pundits believe the Bendigo star, who has reportedly already been nicknamed ‘Crocodile Dundee’ by Pelicans fans, is ready to make an immediate impact in the world’s best basketball league.

Dyson Daniels (right) poses with NBA commissioner Adam Silver (left)

‘He’s an NBA-ready defender and he can handle any rebounds,’ ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said.

‘He can guard multiple spots and he held his match-up to 37 per cent from the field [in the G-League]. He’s a good handler and he’s a very good handler, he’s got good vision, a solid finisher.

Bilas’ colleague Kendrick Perkins echoed the sentiment.

‘With all the offensive firepower the Pelicans have, this is a pick they actually needed to continue to add depth,’ the 2008 NBA champion said.

Daniels was selected with the eighth overall pick of the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans

Daniels was selected with the eighth overall pick of the NBA Draft by the New Orleans Pelicans

Daniels has drawn comparisons with fellow Australian Boomer Matisse Thybulle for his defensive prowess after leading the G league Ignite in assists and steals. In the eyes of ESPN NBA reporter Marc J Spears, the 19-year-old ‘makes everyone better’ and is a ‘great pic[k] for Pelicans’. 

The Australian will join a Pelicans team that is expected to take a major leap forward next season.

New Orleans clinched a playoff spot despite going 36-46 last season, only to be eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns after losing the series 4-2. 

The Pelicans will welcome Zion Williamson back next season, with the former first overall pick set to return after not playing a game in 2021-22 following surgery on a broken foot.

Senior ESPN NBA reporter Marc J Spears was full of praise for the Pelicans' pick

Senior ESPN NBA reporter Marc J Spears was full of praise for the Pelicans’ pick

ESPN NBA reporter Israel Gutierrez believes New Orleans can target a top-four spot in the Western Conference and expects Daniels to be heavily involved from the start.

‘Dyson Daniels will be a rotation player for a Pelicans team that finishes in the top four in the Western Conference,’ he wrote.

‘The No. 8 pick has the build and defensive ability to be an instant impact player, and he also has an IQ that should help on a balanced New Orleans roster.’

Writing on The Athletic, NBA Draft analyst Sam Vecenie and front-office insider John Hollinger struck a similar tone

The 19-year-old Australian impressed during his sting with Ignite in the G League

The 19-year-old Australian impressed during his sting with Ignite in the G League

‘I think Daniels is the kind of player that helps you win,’ Vecenie wrote.

‘He’s a terrific defender as a teenager, and you can expect him to make an impact from Day 1. […] His ceiling is as one of the best role players in the NBA. High-level defense plus high-level passing and visual processing, along with real size and decision-making, is a combination that works.’

Hollinger added: ‘Daniels is a good fit on a New Orleans team that may be trading Devonte’ Graham this summer, opening up more minutes for a huge guard who defends, handles the ball and plays the right way.’

Fox college basketball broadcaster John Fanta also expects big things from the teenage Australian.

Fox college basketball broadcaster John Fanta also expects big things from the teenager

Fox college basketball broadcaster John Fanta also expects big things from the teenager

‘Dyson Daniels is the best perimeter defender in this draft class, and the Pelicans’ goal was to add talent on that end of the floor,’ he tweeted.

‘Daniels is such a willing passer, and he does the little things. If his shot (27% from 3 for Ignite) comes on, watch out. Could be a great player.’

Elsewhere, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer described Daniels as ‘the highest-upside pick available on the board’ for New Orleans and handed the Pelicans an ‘A’ in his draft report card.

Daniels joins the likes of Luc Longley, Andrew Bogut, Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey in an elite group of nine other Aussies to be drafted in the top 10 of their respective NBA drafts

Daniels joins the likes of Luc Longley, Andrew Bogut, Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey in an elite group of nine other Aussies to be drafted in the top 10 of their respective NBA drafts

‘The Pelicans didn’t have any huge needs entering the draft, but Daniels is a multipositional lockdown defender who has lots of upside as a facilitator,’ he wrote.

‘He should fit well in a balanced New Orleans offence alongside Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Zion Williamson. He also gives New Orleans another valuable two-way wing in addition to Herb Jones.

‘He was probably the highest-upside pick available on the board, which is a smart move for a promising franchise on the rise without any big holes.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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