The Toronto Raptors looked at a lot of big wings and college power forwards they hoped could be converted to small forwards during this year’s pre-draft workouts. This was one of the priorities President and General Manager, Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri had identified as a position of need after the season ended. Unfortunately, by the time Toronto picked at 37 in the second round, many of the prospects that had stood out at the Air Canada Centre had already been taken and Ujiri believes DeAndre Daniels likely needs a little more time to develop before he’ll be able to grab a spot on the Raptors roster.
Masai Ujiri audio:
“We are looking at big wings,” Ujiri said. “We tried to – obviously we tried to get a couple of others but they were gone before we picked. With this kid we see a little bit of upside where he can develop and a National Champion knows how to win and we’ll see how it goes. We are excited about him too. He is going to be in L.A. working out, play with us in Summer League and we’ll see, make a decision there. There is a good chance he’ll be playing overseas or maybe in the NBA D-League.”
Daniels was a National Champion with UConn as a Junior last season averaging 13.1 points, 6 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.4 blocks while hitting on 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts. However, he was primarily a power forward in college and he’ll need to be able to play both forward positions in the NBA. At 6’ 8.5” in shoes and 196 lbs he is undersized at the four, but his 7’2 wingspan should help him defensively to guard either forward spot. He had some huge games in UConn’s run to the Championship including a 20 point 10 rebound effort against Florida in a Final Four matchup.
DeAndre Daniels audio:
“At the end of the day, everyone wants a winner on their team who knows what it takes to win,” Daniels said. “I played the four in college and I am just a guy that can do everything, but (I need to) show them that I have more aspects to my game – can handle the ball and shoot the ball – rebounding and playing defense.”
If Daniels can show enough to Head Coach Dwane Casey this summer, then there’s a chance he’ll be in Toronto when the preseason starts, but it sounds like the Raptors have him slotted for development elsewhere next season as he learns to play the three position in the pros.