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3 reasons why Devon Daniels can become NCSU’s next prominent scorer

 

NC State fans will have to wait a year to see it in action, but the Wolfpack landed one of the best under-the-radar players from the 2017 transfer window. No, this isn’t about C.J. Bryce — another talented wing scorer who decided to follow Kevin Keatts to NC State. On the same day Bryce committed to the Pack, so too did Devon Daniels.

Daniels, during his freshman season at Utah, posted promising box score stats. However, the excitement should come from some of the deeper metrics, which project a skilled, high-level scorer.

 

More threes, please

Less than 18 percent of Daniels’ field-goal attempts came from beyond the arc in 2016-17. He launched just 1.2 three-point attempts per game. As he works his way into Kevin Keatts’ three-point-oriented offense, that will change. According to KenPom.com, UNC Wilmington scored 34.5 percent of its total points this past season on three-balls — a rate good for 70th in the nation.

That is a good thing because, according to Synergy Sports, Daniels shot 43.2 percent on jump shots last season, with an adjusted field-goal percentage of 59.1 percent. Adjusted field-goal percentage takes into account the increased value of a three-pointer. Of players to record at least 40 jump-shot possessions in 2016-17, Daniels ranked No. 166 in Division I for adjusted field-goal percentage.

For comparison, Duke’s Luke Kennard (55.7 aFG%) and Grayson Allen (52.2 aFG%) and North Carolina’s Justin Jackson all trailed Daniels in this metric — albeit on far more attempts.

 

Shooting off the catch

Daniels projects to be a perimeter weapon; he could help space the floor nicely around pick-and-rolls orchestrated by Markell Johnson or Lavar Batts — whichever player emerges as the team’s primary ball-handler. Per Synergy, Daniels scored 1.41 points per possession on catch-and-shoots (47.1 FG%, 70.6 aFG%) this season, which ranked in the 96th percentile nationally.

 

Put it on the deck and score

Daniels isn’t just a shooter; he can do more than sit in a corner and wait for the ball to get swung his way. The guard used 18.3 percent of Utah’s possessions when on the floor as a freshman, per Sports Reference — a below-average rate. Junior forward Kyle Kuzma dominated the ball and used nearly 27 percent of the Utes’ possessions.

Despite that, Daniels posted a solid free-throw-attempt rate of 32.8 percent. He can finish with a fury at the rim, too. Daniels shot 69.7 percent on non-post-up attempts around the basket. If those numbers don’t paint the picture for you, just ask Oregon’s Dylan Ennis, who was on the wrong end of this exchange. (Enjoy Lil Uzi Vert soundtracking that highlight, too.)

Plays like this allowed Daniels to shoot 61.8 percent on two-point field goals as a freshman, which ranked No. 87 in Division I, per KenPom. That kind of production in a Power Five conference, like the Pac-12, bodes well for Devon Daniels and his transition to the ACC.