Dyson Daniels fits the mold of the Pelicans’ recent draft successes and could be a major contributor early.

The New Orleans Pelicans have plenty of options at their disposal with the eighth selection in the upcoming NBA Draft.

New Orleans has the assets to move up and take a shot at one of the elite players available, like Jabari Smith Jr. or Jaden Ivey.

As they did in 2019, the Pelicans could trade back and pick up an interior defender like Mark Williams and get more value to fill an area of need. 

Suppose the Pelicans stay put, and the draft board falls just the right way. In that case, New Orleans could end up with another rookie capable of making valuable contributions during their expected push towards another playoff run. 

That player is Dyson Daniels. Daniels was in town this weekend for a pre-draft workout, and his stock has been rising.

With good reason.

Daniels measured 6-foot-7 and 1/2 at the Draft Combine and may still be growing. He has a nearly 6-foot-11 inch wingspan and less than five percent body fat.

His height doesn’t compromise his quickness. Daniels had one of the best shuttle times there as well. 

Daniels does everything well and some things exceptionally well.

He averaged 11.3 points, 5.9 boards, 4.4 assists, 1.9 steals, and nearly one blocked shot per game playing for the NBA G League Ignite. 

Should they enter the season 100 percent healthy, barring any roster changes, the Pelicans already have 14 players under contract. They return team leaders in every statistical category and add Zion Williamson to that group. 

The two biggest areas of need for the Pelicans are interior defense and backcourt depth. 2022’s draft is not good for point guards, and the best bigs will either be gone or overvalued at eight.

Daniels would be the best player to join a roster built with strong, versatile, persistent defenders that complement the Pelicans’ core of Brandon Ingram, Williamson, CJ McCollum, and Jonas Valanciunas. 

Offensively, he has the same problem that many young players have entering the league…the lack of a consistent outside jumper. However, at his height and with his ball-handling ability, Daniels has shown the willingness to attack the basket. He can both initiate and finish on the break.

Just a 25.5 percent shooter from beyond the three-point line with Ignite, Daniels does have a decent-looking shot. It isn’t structurally unsound or in need of an overhaul. He needs attempts and confidence.

Like Herb Jones and Trey Murphy, Daniels has the capability and mindset to contribute in a multitude of ways on both ends of the floor. Unless there’s a trade-up or back, Dyson Daniels should be the Pelicans’ choice in the draft.