With a strong showing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Wisconsin last season, Chris Daniels managed to generate a little bit of buzz heading into this season. Daniels is listed at 70, 265 pounds, though the height may be a little generous. Regardless, he has good height and length for a center in the NBA, though the rest of his physical characteristics arent very overwhelming. Daniels is also 23 years old, and will turn 24 before the season ends, so hes a bit older than your average college senior.
On the offensive end, Daniels gets much of his scoring at the Southland conference level within five feet of the basket, where he can really cause damage when he puts his body to use. When hes trying, he has little trouble establishing good position, as hes bigger and stronger than most of the competition he faces. Daniels doesnt always fight hard for position, though, and his effort on and off the court has been questioned. When Daniels does get the ball low, he doesnt have a vast array of moves, but likes a mini jump hook that he has varying success with inside five feet. At times against weak competition, hes shown nice footwork on drop steps and quick spinning hooks, but at other times he hasnt looked very elegant with his feet, and his instincts also arent that great. Daniels also gets some of his scoring on easy shots around the basket, either when hes open or when hes just big enough to put the ball up right over his defender.
Daniels also has a formidable spot-up jumper that he likes to use from the mid-range, and has also shown flashes of three-point range with, hitting 16 of 42 attempts from behind the arc over the past two seasons. Daniels shot an impressive 81% from the free-throw line in 05-06, but strangely dipped to just 69% this past season.
On the defensive end, Daniels shows potential as a weak-side shot blocker with his length, but underwhelmed against weak competition this season, blocking just 1.6 shots per game. In terms of man-to-man defense, he gives up position in the post way too easily for someone his size, and can also be outmaneuvered there, not showing the greatest footwork or instincts. He doesnt like to step out on the perimeter either, making him a liability against jump-shooting big men. Daniels rebounding could also be better, especially given the competition he faced. He pulled down just 6.7 rebounds per game, though he only played 25.7 minutes.
Daniels game may have some notable flaws, but there is a lot to like about him. He has decent athleticism and mobility for a player his size, and he could become noticeably more agile if he lost some of his 265 pounds. Likely even more so than improving the fundamentals of his game, which he needs to do, Daniels main priority should be shedding some weight to add agility, quickness, and explosiveness to his game. With a better vertical leap and the ability to be quicker with his post moves, things he could gain from losing weight, he could significantly improve his effectiveness. Without doing these things, though, its tough to see him ever making a career in the NBA. But with his size, he should get a good deal of chances over the next few years if hes willing to put in the work, and he could start by showing improvement this season and at the pre-draft camps.