Draft Profiles: K.J. McDaniels, 6'6, SG/SF, 205 lbs., Clemson, Junior

Draft Profiles: K.J. McDaniels, 6'6, SG/SF, 205 lbs., Clemson, Junior

Athletic Ability

McDaniels is one of the best athletes, if not the best athlete in the draft.  He has a freak vertical, glides all over the court, and has great lateral quickness. 


At 6’6 and a very good build despite only weighing 200 pounds, McDaniels presents slightly more size than most two guards.  With 6’11 wing span and freakish athleticism, he matches up well against SF despite a slight height disadvantage and should defend both positions just fine.

Basketball IQ

McDaniels shows an improving basketball IQ, but is still a raw player.  When first coming to Clemson, he came as an athletic talent, but needed to add quite a bit to his game.  In his first year, he played mostly power forward and is still learning the in’s and out’s of defending the perimeter.  However, he’s not a player that makes a lot of boneheaded mistakes either, and he shows good anticipation.


Like many athletic players, McDaniels looks best in activities that require athleticism.  Defensive is where he makes his biggest impact.

McDaniels can fight through screens when defending the perimeter and has the athleticism to come from behind and make a play even if initially beaten.   He uses his speed, wing-span, and vertical leap with great skill to block shots, rebound, and generate steals.

At 6’6, McDaniels almost 3 blocks a game to go along with 7 rebounds.   Averaging near 3 blocks a game at a non big-man position is almost unheard of.  McDaniels is a great off the ball defender as he is able to roam all over the court.  He still has room to improve his awareness and stance as he sometimes plays too upright, but overall is an excellent defender.

Offensively, McDaniels is at his best in transition and offensive rebounds.   He can run the court like a deer and plays hard.  McDaniels can also shoot the mid-range shot and is solid off screens.  Occasionally, McDaniels can get by a defender with his first step, but I feel this part of the game might be taken away until he shows a much better perimeter jumper as he is not a natural playmaking guard.

While McDaniels is a freak talent and plays hard, he is also not the most aggressive player in the game offensively or defensively.   There are many times, you might want him to want to be the ball handler for his team and take it to the rack, but he lacks the ball handling skills to drive.  Besides a lack of ball handling, he also struggles as a shooter and only knocked down 30% of his threes.

Effectively, he offers a mid range shot and hustle points on offense at the moment which is a pretty poor offensive package for a guy who’s coming out as a junior.


Overall, McDaniels reminds of Dahntay Jones with the ability to block shots during his prime.  His draft range is likely the late teens to late 20s.  While I feel he’ll never be an offensive stalwart, he should be a great defender at the next level.

McDaniels would do well going to a team that is high pace offensively and needs some defense such as the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trailblazers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, or Golden State Warriors.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

The Bulls already have Jimmy Butler and a very lopsided team geared towards defense already.  Also, Thibs’ scheme can cover many offensive teams and their schemes if he has good defenders at the power forward and center positions.  For this reason, I would rather draft someone else.

That said, I would also rather draft him over a player such as P.J. Hairston or a T.J. Warren due to how I feel Coach Thibs would utilize McDaniels over those players.  I also feel McDaniels would be useful if we plan on trading Jimmy Butler for an offensive player, or if we gear for a more well-rounded team offensively in general in free agency.

Overall, I would rather utilize picks on players that are more well-rounded two-way players.  I feel we have enough defensive players and need to start gearing towards more offensive playmakers.

My impressions

Overall, McDaniels is one of the safer players in the draft in terms of making the league and having a good career.  He’s still developing offensively and may show more down the road like Gerald Green, but Green came out of high school not his junior year of college.  That said, his freak athleticism, well defined role, and good character will entice many teams.


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  • Thanks for the review as usual. I would go into more detail, but I really don't have anything to add. This guy can't shoot, has a sub par handle, and presence wise Jimmy Butler blows him away so what's the point? Even if they wanted to trade Butler, we need shooters and scorers from this draft period. This guy does neither. Right now he's fallen well into the second round on NBADraft.net which usually is a pretty good barometer.

    I will say he could end up being a decent role player down the road due to his freak athleticism, and the way it translates on the defensive end. Also, his shot is improving slightly as he does shoot 80% from the line, but his threes in three years he never broke 30%.

  • Pass.

  • Side note: Kevin, look forward to the Gary Harris review sounds like he's at or near the top of your list though we'd have to trade up which with Gar/Pax is unlikely. If you save "the best for last" until near draft time though I get it.

    I'm also getting a little jittery about Rodney Hood because I can't find another successful NBA wing with steals numbers as low as his for two or more years let alone one. May sound trivial unless you really follow/buy college stat profile correlation with successful NBA players.

    As of now I still like Adams and Payne at 16 and 19 unless you really want to increase your odds of wing/SG success and double up on Hood AND Adams if Rodney drops one or two spots which could happen. 16) Hood and 19) Adams. Of course that might be considered approaching the former Minny G.M Kahn's "PG's are us" draft territory(not really) though positions are different in this case. Also was hoping Staukas might drop, but appears just the opposite is happening especially post combine(good lane agility/defensive lateral quickness and confirming athleticism with max vert. 35).

    Lastly with Doug seeming to view Joakim Noah's playoffs as "little or nothing on both ends" is he up for trading him? Also shot low 40's in two of the three previous playoffs. I know you don't hear anybody talking Noah trade, and if people want to keep him I understand. I don't hate JO, he's had a good career with the Bulls, but I do think it's perhaps time for a change. Especially if you want to clear/match salary in a trade or trade up in the draft as the Boozer ballast "to make things match" IMO is just hot air. If I'm another franchise I want value all the way around not garbage filler payroll like Boozer which let's face it if someone tried to trade this guy to us for that money we'd collectively vomit.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I would be up for trading Jo but there would have to be a heckuva return and C is such a difficult position to fill.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I don't think that anyone has suggested that including Boozer in a deal makes sense from a financial or basketball standpoint for the acquiring team. There is no value added for them, it is simply part of the logistics from a cap standpoint in a deal where the Bulls are giving up a boatload of draft picks and/or a much lower paid younger veteran player(s) as the focal point of a deal for a superstar with a large salary.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I would trade Noah, but I just don't see you getting anything as good as Noah back, so it's unlikely that it happens.

  • Isn't the idea is to sell when value is perceived high, and ironically even with his according to some lackluster playoff showing against NeNe and Gortat as per Doug, post back to back All-Star nods and DPOY I honestly think there's a good chance someone out there would value Jo fairly highly. Enough to give up a top 7 pick, top 5? I doubt it, but maybe you get a No. 8-10 and take Gary Harris and a solid rotation big? Or trade for say an Aaron Afflallo and a promising young wing in Mo Harkless? Then you draft a big(admittedly not an ideal center body but still) in Adrien Payne.

    I doubt some teams value Jo as highly as others so I'm not sure Orlando bites on that deal. But somebody might give you a top ten pick and a nice player for Jo. Course Gar/Pax just for the fact of profit wouldn't risk alienating fans with a fan favorite in Joakim Noah being traded period. I don't think under almost any circumstance honestly they would trade Jo so it's likely a moot point.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Still, for speculation's sake I know many posters would expect more for Noah then Affllalo and Harkless, but how much would you seriously think Jo would be worth in trade saying you decided a change was in order(and you had your eyes on a replacement big who was well regarded)? Better then a top 8 pick if you really like Harris and another nice piece like Dieng for example?

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Again, this is where matching on Asik 2 years ago was the right move, because you could entertain offers for Noah and still have a top shelf NBA starting center, at least for defense and rebounding.

    I offered this very solution 2 years ago as my justification for not letting Asik go, given what's happened to the Bulls these past 2 seasons, it appears that I was right if for no other reason than Rose's injuries turned both seasons into fly over territory.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Yeah, but if you could foresee the Rose injuries, then you can play the stock market and own your own NBA team! For that matter, you will know which FAs to sign and who to draft.

    Running an NBA team is a lot like backgammon. One can calculate the odds with fair precision, but the throws of the dice can still go against you. Of course, evaluating human talent is vastly more complex.

    Would you really want Asik this year at $15 million? In place of Boozer, sure, but otherwise?

  • In reply to rustyw:

    it is not Asik instead of boozer at $15 million, it is Asik instead of Noah at $15 million vs $13 million, with boozer amnesititized and Noah traded for a superstar.

    Asik locks down the center position allowing you to trade Noah(at somewhere near his peak value) without much if any downgrade on the defensive and rebounding side of the court. You should be able to get an elite talent at another position(scoring wing) using Noah as the foundation of the trade. Melo and Asik is better than Noah and Butler.

    I said it 2 years ago and it is now true, without Asik you cannot afford to trade Noah for anybody that isn't Lebron or Durant, with him the list expands greatly. Rose, plus second star plus Asik beats Rose and Noah and another Luol Deng/Carlos boozer type free agent. After this season you resign Asik for a "normal" contract in which he doesn't get $15 million in any single season.

    My decision didn't depend on forecasting Rose's injuries, the injuries just made it turn out to be that much easier of a decision to have made.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Interesting valuation metrics that you put forth.

    Noah was a #9 pick with few if any people excited that we drafted him, and many if not most calling him a bust for his first 2 seasons. FYI, I called for shooting the big bum(Ben Wallace) and giving Noah the starting job immediately. Now that he has become a 2 time all star and DPOY, thus outperforming his draft day status, you are hoping that someone might give us a pick in the 8-10 range, and no one will give us a top 7 pick.

    This just illustrates the massive over valuation of draft picks, especially before they are used. Once you have established yourself as an NBA player you should be at least worth where you were drafted since the risk has been removed from the equation. Otherwise you are more or less a bust.

    You might be right, but it really doesn't make sense. I have no idea who Gary Harris is, and that is exactly why I wouldn't trade Noah for just him.

    While I agree with your general sentiment that trading Noah now is cashing out while you are on top, unless it was a top 5-6 pick I wouldn't trade Noah for anything less than 2 #1's. If the shoe was on the other foot would you take our 2 picks for Noah, almost certainly not.

    If Noah was the number one trade chip in proposed trades for Aldridge, Love, Melo then he has to be worth more than the draft rights to Gary Harris. I'd have a hard time trading him for the pick that nets Noah Vonleh or Dario Saric and I've at least heard of those guys.

    You are a huge draft/college ball guy, so I think that you over value draft picks, not properly accounting for the bust factor. They all don't turn out to be Damian Lillard which I give you props for hitting on, even though the Bulls would never of drafted him even if we could have stolen a high enough pick to get him for Deng that year. I enjoy your suggestions never-the-less.

    I vastly prefer the Aflalo/Hakless trade, although maybe we would be better off with Vujicic instead of Harkless, even though I liked Harkless coming out of his draft. He hasn't seen much playing time in Orlando so far, so we really don't know if he will amount to much.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    You wrote, "I'd have a hard time trading him [Noah] for the pick that nets Noah Vonleh or Dario Saric and I've at least heard of those guys." I agree.

    "I vastly prefer the Aflalo/Harkless trade." Me too. Two reasons Noah will not get traded this summer:
    1) If Rose comes back strong, which is a BIG IF, the Bulls are an elite player away from a NBA ring! and
    2) It would be a PR nightmare if the parts he was traded for did not pan out.

    So, the Bulls need to get Mirotic and Carmelo if possible. Then if Rose is done as a player, they may need to rebuild. In that case, trade everyone! However, if Rose is done but Mirotic is something special, then they still might be only a player away from challenging.

    This team hungers for a good draft or a good FA signing -- in fact, how about both?!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    If you trade Noah for an 8-10 pick, you're effectively pushing the reset button on the team. I don't see the Bulls giving up on this team right now.

    No one in the 8-10 range is going to help the Bulls more than Noah in the next three seasons [assuming Noah stays healthy].

  • Given your description of McDaniels, all D and althlete, but no real O, I am more than somewhat surprised that you would definitively take him over Hairston and Warren who are considered bonafide offensive talents, which the bulls desperately need.

    Care to elaborate on why, again focusing on the Bulls desperate need for a massive upgrade on offensive talent.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I just don't forsee Warren providing much meaningful. Hairston I'm just not high on in general (maybe I should say something other than high). I just don't know if I see Hairston doing much in general and he seems to need to be motivated.

  • I doubt the Bulls would trade Noah unless it's for a top five pick or a Kevin Love/Melo type of trade. Judging by many of the posters comments here they would get killed if they accepted anything less. Even if they had a willing partner I'm not sure they would do it or if willing, pull it off.

    If I could get Afflallo plus Harkless(yes it's a risk) or Afflallo and Vucevic(which Orlando's not doing) I'd do it. If It's Harkless I'm then drafting Adrien Payne and doing what I have to do to get Mirotic over here now. Which they need to do anyway. I just disagree with the Boozer ballast, I want Noah or Taj in trade if I'm another team not garbage makes it work salary in Boozer. Mirotic and middle firsts would not be enough. If they don't amnesty Boozer they're kidding themselves on using him in a Kevin Love trade for example. That's a homer fantasy IMO.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    You wrote, "If they don't amnesty Boozer they're kidding themselves on using him in a Kevin Love trade for example."

    Dead on from a pure talent/salary view. However, in the Knicks' case, it just might fly because they are shooting for the big FA group of 2015. So, better an expiring contract like Boozer than locked into some other unfavorable contract. They have to eet the minimum salary for the season. Plus they would pick up some picks and maybe even Taj.

    Minny is different -- they would not take Boozer. In fact, I doubt they trade Love at all before the deadline. It might not be smart, but I think they will sit on Love and hope. And maybe lose him for nothing! He is obviously warning them now, but it's hard to trade a guy like that.

  • I would trade Noah for the right package because I think in a year or two, he will start to go downwards. Would trading him for Love lessen what we have to send to T'Wolves? Doubt it as the T'Wolves probably want to rebuild. Love at the 5 and Taj at the 4 in today's NBA would be intriguing. However, doubt it would happen. Bulls rely on Noah to basically do recruiting and other gruntwork.

    As for players, I would probably throw in Harris, Hood, Young, Stauskas, Jeremi Grant, Ennis, etc... soon. I just trying to get as many as possible.

  • Alright I give up(for today). In a playoff setting I think Noah is being wayyyy over valued. He's not a scorer and he's not a defensive difference maker. What he is is a liability. Oft injured to boot.

    NeNe shot .546 at 17.8 ppg against Joakim(and his team). In the Miami ECF Noah shot .317?? Oh, he was injured. Are you kidding me .317?? Seriously, if he's not worth much in trade due to his salary then maybe we should just give him and his salary away for a top 8-10 pick. Otherwise if he really is a valuable player then as Doug wants to trade him we should be able to get something valuable back. It's one or the other. Or we just blame his salary which is an over extrapolation as if he's a key piece you can win a championship with, salary or not teams are going to want him and trade good assets to get him. Whatever, I know I'm chasing windmills as Noah is going Noahwhere(you see how I did that).

    I still wonder if Love's disclosure about not resigning right before the lottery is setting up a draft day trade??? Be interesting to see where MInny, G.S., L.A. etc. go in the Lottery. Could determine where Love goes on draft day.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I agree with selling high and Noah is probably at his peak after winning DPOY. Still, I just don't think Noah is the type of player that any other team would give up a lot for. Orlando is the best bet because Noah is a local fave from his days at Florida but I don't know if they would and I really think nobody else would. Same thing happened with Deng, we all thought he wasn't good enough but also wanted some other team to give up a high 1st to get him, but there simply was no team offering that.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    I would bet that Noah has way more value around the league than Deng ever did. In league parlance, Deng is just another guy, Noah is more than that, his skill set at his position is much harder to replicate than Deng's.

    Where I disagree with RW's assessment of Noah is that he needs to be no more than your 3rd best player, i.e. Rodman/Grant to Rose and someone else's(Melo, Love) Jordan and Pippen. Even then Rose isn't anywhere near Jordan and those guys aren't Pippen either.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Right, I wasn't saying Noah is worth the same as Deng was, just saying that like Deng, I don't know that you'd get back as much for him as he's worth to the team or as much as you might be hoping. With both Deng and Noah, we all recognize their limitations yet we want other FO's to not see what we're seeing and overpay in talent to acquire them. Stuff like that happens time to time in the league and it would be nice to see our FO pull something like that off.

    Although I'm responding to another post elsewhere, I do think the most optimal dice roll would have been keeping Asik and then trading Noah. It would have been a bold, divisive move but one that I think would ultimately have worked out. At the same time, I still don't know if they win a championship, and they certainly don't without Rose being healthy, so there would likely still be another move to be made. But it would be a smaller move than what the Bulls face right now.

  • Doug, just a little tidbit from Grantland.

    "The team has to figure out Greg Monroe’s free agency, and owes the Bobcats a first-round draft pick thanks to the Ben Gordon–Corey Maggette swap — perhaps the most depressing trade in recent NBA history. You are a sad League Pass addict if you can remember either one of those guys doing a basketball thing in a basketball game for either team after this trade".

  • Another quite interesting tidbit from Grantland

    But here’s the craziest and most fascinating NBA lottery fact ever in the history of crazy and fascinating lottery facts: Through 29 NBA lotteries dating back to 1985, only one franchise ever won the NBA title with its own no. 1 overall pick. The team? San Antonio with David Robinson (two titles) and Tim Duncan (four titles, two with Robinson). How is that possible?

  • In reply to BigWay:


  • In reply to BigWay:

    Well, I think 19 is overstating things a bit. Any of the last six could still win with their original teams including Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and Kyrie Irving, so it's more like a list of 13. Then take out the two players, Shaq and LeBron, who left their original teams to lead other teams to championships and we're down to eleven. The best players left on that list like Pat Ewing, Chris Webber and Allen Iverson dominated at times, but not enough to get past the dominant players of the era. The rest ranged from good to awful, or had promising careers short by injuries. Looking at the list of 29 overall, only about one out of three #1 overall picks turned out to be superstars, slightly more or less depending upon how loosely you define the term.

    Rose fits that term to me and could still be on a Bulls championship team but it looks far less likely than it did three years ago. Back then we were afraid he fall into the "not dominant enough to get past the other dominant players of the era" category but now he's more likely destined for "promising careers cut short by injuries" category.

  • Interestingly Chad Ford's big board has Payne listed as the 16th best prospect and Hood at 19. Wouldn't most Bulls fans bust a nut if the draft played out that way.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    That would be amazing to me! I doubt we keep both picks though!

  • Cleveland pulls off a 1.7%er! Clearly Sliver is no longer allowing the rigging that Stern allowed -- just kidding around here (maybe). Then the Bucks followed by the 76ers -- all three teams should get future all-star type players. Lakers get the seventh pick, so if anyone still wants to trade Thibs to them, that's what we can ask for.

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