Who is K.J. McDaniels? Well, first off he is a 6-foot-6 wing player, out of Birmingham, Alabama. He played his college basketball at Clemson University, and decided to declare for the NBA Draft after his junior season. During that junior season, he put up career best numbers, and improved on almost every statistical category from his previous season.
But who is K.J. McDaniels, really? He was the ACC leader in blocked shots, blocking 100 shots his junior season. He is one of only three players from Clemson who was able to hit the century mark for blocked shots in one season. He also averaged 17.1 points per game, and 7.1 rebounds per game. He was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, with 2.8 blocks per game, and 1.1 steals per game.
K.J. McDaniels, who is that guy? He came into the draft process with some things to work on, but also some things that he really excelled in. He is a very good defensive player, and can score in transition. According to Matt Kamalsky, scouts said that he is the top transition scorer in the small forward group, a group that included Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 overall selection in the draft, and Doug McDermott, the Wooden Award winner this past season. He was the third best finisher in the half-court also. He does need to work on his perimeter scoring, but that is something the 76ers can work with him on. He is a very athletic player, drawing similar comparisons to Gerald Green, due to his height and nearly 6-foot-10 wingspan.
That one guy, K.J. McDaniels, who is that? K.J. McDaniels came into the draft process projected early second round, due to his defensive attributes, but not cracking the first round, because of his questionable, and streaky shot. He would fit into a system, and team that likes to get up and down the floor, and score in transition, his forte, if you will. So when the Sixers drafted him with their first pick in the second round (pick No. 32), it was not a surprising pick. The 76ers, a team who gets up and down the floor, and lacks defense, at all times. McDaniels will be helpful to this team, in a lot of those areas. He will also work on his shot, because the Sixers do need shooters. He will be able to defend at a high level in this league, get out and run, and give this Sixers team energy off the bench. McDaniels will not be a star in this league, but if he works hard, and works on his game, he can be a very good 6th or 7th man off the bench, a very solid role player. And he plans to work hard, saying in a press conference after being drafted, “And like I said, it’s a blessing to be here, so the opportunity is there, just have to come in and put in the work.”
When McDaniels was asked how he felt about being drafted by the 76ers, he said, “I feel like it’s a great fit, we are a young team, it’s a blessing to be here with these young fellas and I feel like we can come in here, and bring lots of energy and I feel like we can fit perfect.”
He is the 76ers second round pick, ACC Defensive Player of the Year from Clemson. Brought on by Sam Hinkie to add energy, defense, and transition scoring to the Sixers backcourt. That’s who K.J. McDaniels is.