NBA G-League Aussie Player Focus – Dyson Daniels

FOR most young basketball players, the end goal is to make the National Basketball Association (NBA), which is well-known as the most popular and strongest league in the world. The path to get to this level is much more interchangeable than it was in years past. In previous decades the path to the top level was through the NCAA collegiate system, where players would prove their talents at schools around the country, however these days, there are multiple avenues to reaching the big time, whether it may be through the NCAA or alternatively through another league. This has seen the rapid rise of international leagues such as FIBA and Australia’s own NBL dominate the last three seasons. However, another path to stardom has emerged in the form of the NBA’s G-League, with players such as Aussie Dyson Daniels, who has joined the competition with hopes of a selection in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Daniels is a native of Bendigo in Victoria, where he picked up the sport of basketball at the age of seven, which was expected given his father’s playing history. His professional career began in 2015 after being selected for the FIBA Oceania Under-15 Championships, where he averaged over eight points per game on his way to leading his side to a gold medal.

In 2019, he signed with the Bendigo Braves in the NBL1 South League, which is where his father once played for many years, with the #23 jersey retired in his honour. Daniels was able to develop his game throughout his time on the team, showcasing his speed and basketball IQ to pair with his natural talent on a consistent basis.

It was clear he was destined for bigger and better things, demonstrating a mountain of potential throughout his season as a part of the Braves. There was much media speculation around his future after he made the move to Canberra to join the NBA Global Academy, which serves as the league’s top hub for international talent.

He was once again selected for international duties, representing Australia’s men’s senior FIBA team in a qualifying game, and he delivered a powerful outing on the biggest stage he had seen. In an impressive offensive performance, Daniels finished with 23 points, four assists and six steals. Suddenly, he found himself the biggest Australian-born prospect since Dante Exum, and he was listed on plenty of mock drafts for the 2022 NBA Draft.

In June of this year, it was announced that Daniels had signed with the NBA G-League Ignite, which acts as a developmental team affiliated with the NBA G-League. Ignite made headlines for signing Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, who both ended up going in the top 10 of the 2021 NBA Draft. Ignite will look to provide Daniels with both the opportunity to develop his skills under former NBA veterans, but also showcase his natural talent on a world-class stage.

At 6ft 6in, the 18-year-old plays primarily at the shooting guard, but has also shown the ability to operate as a hybrid guard-wing combo. Daniels has shown his biggest strength is his defensive talent, constantly hassling his opponents and forcing plenty of turnovers. He has also shown he operates best on the offensive end when playing downhill, slashing past defenders to attack the rim with plenty of success. His shooting could be improved, but he has shown the potential to grow this part of his game, and will likely spend time honing this.

Daniels currently sits at #16 in ESPN’s most recent mock draft for 2022, and looks to be another successful basketball prodigy from the land down under.

Picture credit: FIBA

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