The Toronto Raptors unsigned second round draft pick DeAndre Daniels (pictured above with Raptors 905 announcer Meghan McPeak) has been out of sight and mostly out of mind since heading over to Perth Australia in the fall of 2014 and when a Jones fracture of his right foot caused him to miss NBA Summer League last July, this NCAA Tournament Champion fell completely off the radar. However, he’s battled back to play in the last few NBA D-League games of the Mississauga Raptors 905 season and he plans to play with the Raptors this summer.
DeAndre Daniels interview:
The Raptors drafted Daniels 37th overall after the forward had played some of the best basketball of his college career in leading UConn to a National Championship. However, the team really didn’t have an open roster spot for a developing young forward with their very raw first round pick Bruno Caboclo on board.
So it was off to Australia where he missed the preseason with an elbow injury, but playing in Perth was good for Daniels. The 6’8 forward needed to transition his game to the small forward spot and his new team was very accommodating.
“It was for me to develop my game and just grow up and mature,” Daniels told Pro Bball Report. “I got to play the three the whole time. They wanted me to go out there and play the three and learn the position and it went pretty well.
“Focus on everything overall, guarding the three, guarding smaller guys, mainly stuff with defense. Reading defenses, coming off screens.”
The foot injury occurred after Daniels returned to North America and was a huge setback costing him nearly the entire season this year.
“I’ve been off for like seven months now,” Daniels said. “I’ve played like four or five games and they’ve helped me a lot. Just to get up and down and get in the rhythm of playing in a game. It felt good to be back out there.
“I’m not quite 100 percent yet. I just have to get my whole leg back stronger. It’s kind of weak. Just work on my leg and get ready for Summer League.”
Even though he was a second round pick, expectations were pretty high for Daniels coming out of college. The NBA is looking for stretch-forwards and Daniels was shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range in his final college season.
“Everyone is going to look and see if I can shoot the ball, but mainly I am just focused on defense, locking my guy down and rebounding the basketball,” Daniels said. “Worry about the rest later, it will come. That’s what I do, I’m a shooter.
“Good times are definitely going to come for sure.”
It’s been a painful couple of years since Daniels was drafted. An elbow in Perth and the foot last summer, but the 24-year-old has used the time he’s had to work on the things he has needed to improve on. It will be very interesting to get a read on his progress during the NBA Summer League in July.