NBA Draft: Re-drafting the 2014 NBA Draft’s first round

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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K.J. McDaniels
K.J. McDaniels (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

2014 NBA Redraft: 27. K.J. McDaniels, Phoenix Suns

K.J. McDaniels isn’t currently on an NBA roster. In fact, he hasn’t played a regular season NBA game since the 2016-17 season. But in an era of basketball that gives plenty of opportunity to athletic wings, there’s little reason he shouldn’t get another shot at the highest level.

McDaniels arrived in the NBA when he was selected with the 32nd pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. At the time, the Sixers were a franchise neck-deep in The Process coming off a season in which they went 19-53.

Philly certainly wasn’t looking to win games, so it handed out flyers left and right to players who may not have gotten a chance otherwise. McDaniels rookie season saw the Sixers rank seventh in overall pace, playing to his strengths as a super-athlete with a 37.0-inch max vertical leap. He averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 25.4 minutes a night. The 76ers then traded him to the Houston Rockets after 52 games played.

Standing 6’6” with a wingspan that stretches out to a little over 6’11’, McDaniels would be an ideal defender in the NBA today. His combined length and athleticism would make him a stout wing defender, able to switch screens and guard multiple positions.

The source of his struggles is likely what has him out of the league. McDaniels never showed an ability to shoot the basketball, essentially a must-have for NBA wings. He’s a career 29.0 percent outside shooter and only 41.2 percent from the field. He hits his free throws at a respectable 77.6 percent clip, but that form clearly never translated past the stripe.

Flaws and all, there still has to be room on at least one NBA roster for a player of McDaniel’s caliber. A number of high-flying forwards have managed to stay put in the league without much production to show for it. It’s time a new one gets another his shot.