ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 07: DeAndre Daniels #2 of the Connecticut Huskies goes to the basket over Dakari Johnson #44 of the Kentucky Wildcats during the NCAA Men's Final Four Championship at AT&T Stadium on April 7, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Now that DeAndre Daniels has made it official, let's see how the mock-draft community feels about his NBA prospects.
NBADraft.net pegs the 6-8 power forward as a late first-rounder, going 25th to the Houston Rockets (they have Shabazz Napier going 12th to the Magic).
And DraftExpress.com has the Suns taking Daniels with the 27th pick (Napier goes two picks later, to the Thunder).
The Connecticut Post's Kevin Duffy adds this:
Can't fault DeAndre Daniels for leaving. Had a hell of a tournament. If he heard late 1st, then that was the way to go.
— Kevin Duffy (@KevinRDuffy) April 25, 2014
The late first-round surge has everything to do with a) Daniels' potential, and b) how well he played in the NCAA Tournament. Ultimately, the NBA team that takes a first-round flier on Daniels will have to feel comfortable that they can get him to play at a consistent level night in and night out.
Earlier this month, a scout told ZagsBlog.com's Adam Zagoria that "Daniels is coming out," without any inside knowledge to Daniels' actual thinking because “He’s playing the best he’s ever played, he might as well go for it.”
But as has been the case throughout Daniels' college careers, there are caveats to his playmaking ability.
“He just scares me because I don’t know what you’re getting,” a second scout told Zagoria. “If Connecticut wins the NCAA championship and he plays great two nights in a row, he’ll be at another level. Right now, he’s a giant question mark.”
Another knock, and one you never want to hear as a player: He's soft.
“If you saw him all year prior to the conference tournament and the NCAA Tournament, you’d have said the guy should be playing in the WNBA, right?,” the first scout told Zagoria.
“He didn’t get anything done, shied away from contact, couldn’t finish, wanted to just live out on the perimeter, wasn’t really knocking down shots, didn’t go hard at anybody, just physically not ready.”
The second scout added: “To me, he has to be tougher, more consistent. He’s very talented. Kids like him are very difficult to assess because their production level in the game varies so much. He has very good physical tools, length, the ability to run and jump, but he’s not strong enough. He has the body that can turn into an NBA body. ... Inconsistency has been this theme. He’s very talented.”
And that's the allure: Daniels is eminently talented. The big question is how an NBA can find ways to showcase that talent on a consistent basis.