(Note: I missed this past Tuesday, but the goal is to post a new prospect every Tuesday and Thursday until the week of the draft and then I will do a rundown of the entire draft and which player I think the Raptors might pick and which ones they should focus on.)

K.J. McDaniels was a little known guard coming out of high school, and didn’t make much of an impact in his freshman season at Clemson, but since then, he’s made great strides both physically and skill-wise.

His two main attributes are his athleticism and defensive abilities. He’s got great athleticism, although he’s just a notch below otherworldly Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon. And McDaniels was good enough defensively to win the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, this year, blocking an astounding 2.8 shots per game while standing only 6’6 and being a disruptive force in the passing lanes, as well, racking up 1.1 steals a game.

He also is one of the best rebounders for a player his size, grabbing 7.1 rebounds a game, using both his athleticism and a nose for the ball. And unlike a lot of athletic wing player, McDaniels is a good rebounder on both ends of the court.

That’s not to say he’s without weaknesses.

While he’s got excellent defensive potential, he loses focus on the defensive end too much and with his athleticism and long arms, you’d think he’d rack up more than 1.1 steals a game.

And while he’s not a horrible shooter, he’s got a lot of work to do if he is going to be any outside threat in the NBA. His release is slow and mechanical, and he brings the ball down too far during his “windup”, which will allow a lot of NBA defenders to swipe the ball before he even gets a shot off.

Still, it’s not unfixable, and he’s shown an ability to hit from deep when he has his feet set. While he shares a lot in common with the Spurs’ Danny Green, it’s doubtful he’ll ever be the shooter Green is.

One of the only red flags is he doesn’t have a high basketball IQ. He’s not a good passer and doesn’t always seem to tell the difference between a good play and a bad play.

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McDaniels has the potential to be an excellent role player in the NBA, if he can improve his outside shot. He does a lot of the little things and gruntwork that role players need to do and could very well end up having a long successful career in the NBA.

What you’re not going to get from McDaniels is a player with a whole lot of potential, despite his athleticism. He simply doesn’t have the offensive skills to be anything more than a good role player, but that’s not bad at all.

Unless he jumps up in the draft, he’s very likely to be available at 20 for the Raptors. He’s a defensive small forward, which is something the Raptors need, and can help out on the boards, as well.

The problem, of course, comes in adding another low IQ player to a roster without a lot of high IQ players. Plus, if he can’t become a legitimate outside threat, he won’t be much more useful than a somewhat broken Landry Fields.

  • DanH

    Good timing. He’s in for a workout with the Raps today.

  • Ben

    He’s my favourite to go at 20th. Offensively he’s a bit of a project, but he did score 17.1 ppg on 45% from the field, and he shoots free throws at a good percentage. He’s also improved his shooting every year at Clemson, so while he may not be a lights out shooter he can still be a serviceable player. Like Demar and TRoss, he needs to work on his ball-handling if he wants to take advantage of his dunking abilities, but as his highlights indicate he likes to crash the offensive boards for putback dunks. You don’t see many wing players crash the boards like he does. His defensive potential is also ridiculous. You don’t often see a wing player getting 2.8 bpg to lead the ACC. That just goes to show that his instincts and timing are already well developed. His relatively low 1.1 spg can be explained by his lack of consistent effort when defending on the perimeter. He doesn’t always sit back in his defensive stance and he’s not aggressive on the ballhandler until he starts to make his move, nor does he play the passing lanes to cut off his man from receiving a pass. These things can be worked on through summer workouts with our coaches, as well as in training camp. I see a lot of Jimmy Butler in him right now, and if he puts on some weight/strength we could use him as an off-the-bench wing-defending specialist against guys like Joe Johnson and Lebron James, similar to what Butler does.

  • Matteemo

    I like this guy a lot too, but I would only pick him if Nik Stauskas, Tyler Ennis, Rodney Hood, James Young, Kyle Anderson and TJ Warren had all already been selected, which is a very real possibility. It’s possible that McDaniels could even be available with our early 2nd rd pick.

  • Maputo88

    Tim, low IQ, hmmm. Are we talking Joey Graham, Stromile Swift levels here or is it not that bad?
    McDaniels ast/tov % and steal % are not that great so I doubt he will be great on defense & not great on offence. I like James Young better as an SF prospect, but if we get out of that positional need (& Ennis, Payton & Stauskas are not available), we should look at Spencer Dinwiddie or even the French Guiana guy Damien Inglis

    • Ben

      Actually McDaniels is a great defender. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year… His defensive instincts are great. His low bball IQ allegations come from the fact that he didn’t make the best choices on shot selection, and he didn’t showcase his ability to get teammates involved, but this is very common for a player that was the best player on a lesser known university.

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      Completely agree about Inglis, although I’m not sure i would want the Raptors to reach on him with the 20th pick, yet I’m not confident that he will still be on the board at 37 :S…. The same issue applies with Glenn Robinson III, who is a reach at 20 but I’d love at 37 , and yet again, he probably won’t be available there.

  • Alex Vostrikov

    nothing special…. and nothing more than a rental while on rookie contract. and a bench warmer at best.
    raps need to address their bigs… someone who plays C-PF from the bench. you take SF if Anderson is available…. possibly warren as well.
    we have great defender in fields… his shot will come back. he was the player who “would” stop JJ, and did when given a chance… but didn’t get his share. again, hope it was due to injury.

    • Matteemo

      I am definitely not as confident as you are about Landry Fields getting his jumpshot back. Maybe if he spent more time shooting and less time doing Lionel Ritchie and Pitbull impressions I would worry less…

  • Dedd

    > While he shares a lot in common with the Spurs’ Danny Green, it’s doubtful he’ll ever be the shooter Green is.

    They don’t share much at all, not just the shooting. He’s far more athletic than Green and Green’s got much better bball IQ.

  • Marnix Saynor

    he reminds me more of a the suns gerald green than danny green

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