Dyson Daniels, Aussie youngster for New Orleans Pelicans, reactions, response, commentary, Bill Simmons, top 70 trade value list, latest

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Dyson Daniels is fast building his reputation in the NBA.

The Aussie young gun’s impressive form whenever he’s taken the court has seen his role gradually increase throughout the first quarter of the season for a surging New Orleans Pelicans team that has charged into the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

It’s remarkable to consider the 19-year old Daniels has in recent weeks started five games and played big minutes for a team now considered a genuine title contender – albeit while dealing with injuries to key players Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones.

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But those increased opportunities could’ve gone to anyone, with the Bendigo-born product, who was drafted with the eighth overall pick just six months ago, warranting those opportunities with his stellar play.

While folks Down Under have taken notice of another promising Aussie making a splash in the NBA, he’s also turning heads in the United States media.

Daniels is guarded by Chris Paul (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)Source: Supplied

The Ringer is set to release its 2023 NBA top trade value list – effectively ranking the top 70 players in the league right now based on current production, potential and how much they’re being paid – in the coming days, and Bill Simmons revealed Daniels deserved an honourable mention despite missing out.

In fact, Simmons noted he could yet find a spot for Daniels when the top 70 is officially released – a remarkable feat considering he’d earmarked superstars Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal for ranks 70-67 – clearly factoring in their lucrative salaries.

“Daniels comes out and he looks like he’s 25. He might end up being on the list by the time I’m done,” he said of the Aussie on The Bill Simmons Podcast.

“I really like the way he carries himself … defensively he’s already there.

“He seems like he’s fun to play with and I’ll be interested to see how he evolves for them and whether or not they’re able to find minutes for them – because they’re (New Orleans) a contender.”

As Simmons pointed out, how Daniels is used by Pelicans coach Willie Green moving forward when the team is healthy will be a fascinating watch considering how much he’s hit his stride with more opportunities.

It’s clearly warranted a bigger role for the youngster, who wasn’t even part of the Pels rotation on opening night, in some shape or form.

Regardless of whether continues to play significant minutes, he’s proven to be a great get for New Orleans and a genuine impact player in the league, with a bright future on one of the most promising teams in the league.

Daniels steals the ball off Doncic (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“I was really praying he was going to be around when the Wizards drafted in the most recent draft. I thought he would’ve been a terrific defensive addition to the team,” NBA analyst Joe House said on the Bill Simmons Podcast.

“He just plays hard as a mother f***er and it’s unbelievable that he’s on the Pelicans.”

On the stat sheet, Daniels’ averages of 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds per game don’t jump off the page.

It’s the impact the versatile guard/forward has though in variety of ways that really stands out behind an athletic 6-foot-7 frame (201cm).

He’s drawn defensive assignments on the best superstars in the game such as LeBron James, Pascal Siakam, Chris Paul and Devin Booker and Luka Doncic – the latter his opening task the first time he played proper minutes in a daunting welcome to the NBA moment – but he’s always been up for such seismic match-ups.

Heck, how many 19-year old rookies could you put on such big names? It’s no wonder Green had to find him more minutes.

Also capable of switching onto different opponents during defensive sets, it’s Daniels’ play at that end of the court where he’s most impressed.

But he’s also shown flashes on the offensive end – running the offence with his tremendous court vision and going into attack mode when he gets openings – consistently making the right play and demonstrating a high level of basketball IQ.

Daniels runs a play (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)Source: Supplied

“Incredible ball handling and distribution … but the defensive part of the basketball game is where he’s most comfortable ,” former NBA player David Wesley said on Bally Sports.

“I have a feeling we’ll find out that he too can also play some really good offence when called upon.

“He doesn’t get scared of the moment and he doesn’t get sped up. He has a nice pace to his game.

“But his understanding and his maturity on the defensive side of the ball is incredible – you don’t normally get it like that – his reads and rotations and all those things.

“He’s a natural on defence and the fact he has some offensive game too, that’s bonus.”

While a player taken with Pick 8 came into the NBA with high prospects, not many thought he or the Pelicans would come on this quickly.

Daniels doesn’t quite have the role of a Josh Giddey as the starting point guard for the OKC Thunder last season that helped him flourish and put up big numbers, but contributing to a bona fide contender is arguably more impressive.

Daniels has impressed thus far (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Not many others from the 2022 draft class – or even previous draft classes – have produced for playoff teams, with Daniels’ recent play in particular pushing him into All-Rookie team calculations.

As The Athletic’s William Guillory highlighted, Daniels’ ability to have an immediate impact on a winning team shows he “isn’t like most rookies.”

“Life can come at you fast as an NBA rookie. Trying to find your footing in a new situation while your idols look to put you on their latest highlight tape is tough. Some handle it better than others,” Guillory wrote on theathletic.com.

“Unlike most top-10 picks, Daniels’ initiation to the league is coming with a team that doesn’t need him to produce immediately … the Pelicans planned to bring Daniels along slowly with the hope he might be ready to contribute once the playoffs neared. But injuries to other key players have forced Daniels to be part of the rotation much earlier than they anticipated.

“Because of that, New Orlans is learning that Daniels isn’t like most rookies. His fearlessness, one of the main traits that attracted the Pelicans to him in the pre-draft process, has been on full display. He carries himself with a stoic demeanour uncommon for players his age. He enjoys being called upon to guard some of the best scorers in the world.

“With the opportunities he’s received, Daniels has shown he’s far from the long-term project the Pelicans originally expected. It will be tough to keep him off the floor this season once the team gets fully healthy again, and his play at such a young age is forcing the entire organisation to rethink his long-term ceiling.”

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