As the Chinese league postseason approaches, Guangdong Southern has signed Jeff Adrien to strengthen what already is the team that sits atop the standings. The man he replaces is Chris Daniels, who was actually having one of the most productive seasons in the league.
Daniels is an intriguing player due to his combination of size and ball skills. He’s a seven-footer who has developed a pretty good feel for the game, flashing excellent passing instincts facing the defense and handling the ball well enough that the team utilized him to initiate offense from the high post at times. Daniels assisted on 10% of Guangdong’s scores in his 845 minutes, which ranked him sixth in assist rate among centers – according to realgm.com.
Guangdong likes posting up its big wings, and Daniels helped that happen by spacing the defense all the way to the three-point line and opening up the lane. He doesn’t get much elevation off the ground, doesn’t have a particularly quick release and will at times extend his right leg rather than elevate in balance but has solid enough mechanics that he’s a very capable open shot shooter, hitting 41.6% of his 48 three-point attempts this season.
Daniels has also displayed the ability to attack closeouts, handling the ball comfortably when forced to drive off the dribble and finishing strong at the rim with momentum. He dribbles the ball too high in traffic, though, and is susceptible to getting it stripped. His 18.4% turnover rate is sky high in the context of his 19.8% usage rate.
He permitted better athletes to successfully front him and deny him the ball in the post, so mostly got it below the foul line when the opponent guarded Yi Jianlian with its strongest big man and matched up Daniels on a smaller or less athletic type. In such circumstances, he used the strength in his 265-pound frame to back them down for a short hook within close range or his athletic ability to create separation through a two-step, running jump-hook. Daniels exhibited great touch in these finishes, converting 66% of his 212 two-point shots.
Guangdong doesn’t run all that many pick-and-rolls, and when they did, Daniels was not much of an option as a finisher. He was mostly a slip screener, perhaps because he was coached to do so, but even in those occurrences, Daniels didn’t dive down the lane with much speed and didn’t carry much gravitational pull. He has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and touch to finish around length but does not play above the rim as a target for lobs.
In part because of his role but also because he’s not much of an energy guy at this point of his career (perhaps why Guangdong is replacing him with Adrien), Daniels collected just 10.5% of Guangdong’s misses when he was on the floor, which is an average mark, and struggled finishing with power out of a standing still position.
On the other end, Daniels was a solid contributor as well. He held his ground on the post and looked to box out diligently, collecting 26.5% of opponents’ misses, which ranked him eighth in the league. His mobility was an asset when he guarded the pick-and-roll flat and he proved able to keep pace with smaller players running at him, managing to challenge shots at the rim.
Daniels is unable to play above the rim as a shot blocker, though, and proved to be very foul prone, as he is susceptible to getting fooled by shot-fakes and leaving himself vulnerable for the opponent to seek contact. He averaged 6.1 personal fouls per 48 minutes, which limited his playing time to just 25.6 minutes per game. Nonetheless, Daniels benefited from playing alongside a pretty good collection of athletes and his individual 105.2 defensive rating ranked fourth in the league.
Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here and at BballBreakdown or at Upside & Motor, a couple of websites where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara.