As part of Denver Stiffs’ transition from Denver Nuggets postseason coverage to offseason coverage, staff members will be conducting End of Season Reviews for all 17 players on the roster. There will continue to be news, NBA draft, free agency, and trade articles, but over the next three weeks, an accompanying End of Season review (or two) will also post every week day.
Today’s review: Troy Daniels
Leading up to the 2020 NBA trade deadline, the Nuggets were expected to make some moves for a few reasons. They had players that were heading for free agency that they had no ability to re-sign with their lack of cap space. The team sent out Juan Hernangomez, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in exchange for Keita Bates-Diop, Noah Vonleh, Gerald Green, a 2020 1st-round pick and Shabazz Napier. They followed that up by sending Napier and a second-round pick to the Washington Wizards for Jordan McRae.
McRae wasn’t pleased with his role on this Nuggets’ team, so he was waived. With that spare roster spot, Denver wanted another wing player to give them some depth, and they found one in the recently waived Troy Daniels. Daniels was let go by the Los Angeles Lakers. He had played 41 games for them prior to being waived, and he was averaging about 11 minutes per game for them.
If it weren’t for the Covid-19 outbreak shutting down the season, we may have seen even more play out of Daniels upon his arrival to Denver, as he played just six games with a team that was searching for consistent wing depth all year. A player like Daniels, had he gotten into a groove, could have played a bigger role in the playoffs when the team was dealing with numerous wing injuries.
Troy Daniels Season Splits
As I said, Daniels was unfortunately unable to contribute much on the year. In Los Angeles, he was buried on a deep roster, and, once he got to Denver, the season was shut down for four and a half months. With the Lakers, he shot 35.7 percent on 3-point attempts, and he was primarily reserved for chucking up shots from downtown. In a free-agent year, Daniels was hoping for a better season.
Denver has limited assets to re-sign free agents this offseason, and they could actually look to bring back Daniels for some depth on the wing. Guys like Gary Harris and Will Barton have dealt with nagging injuries over the last couple of seasons, and Daniels is the type of guy that could fill spot minutes when called upon.
Daniels is a career 39.5 percent shooter from 3-point range, and his services will be requested as a result. Denver should try to get him back to bolster this bench that went through some cold stretches last season, especially in the playoffs. In a league where wings are a premium, Daniels fits what teams are looking for.
Season Grade: C-
I want to give Daniels a better grade, but I just can’t do it. He didn’t play hardly at all in Denver, and I’m not grading his time with the Lakers. Truthfully, the only reason that I didn’t grade him lower is that the sample size was far too small. It’s not fair to punish Daniels for failing to get into a groove in a week then regain it five months later.
His shooting numbers dropped from everywhere, and he also wasn’t exactly a lockdown option on the defensive end of the floor. However, taking into account the small sample size, I’m giving him a pass from a raw numbers standpoint. I think he is a better player than we saw this year, and that’s cooked into his grade a bit.
Season Highlight: Game against New Orleans Pelicans
With such a small sample size to choose from, this one was actually pretty easy. Once Denver re-entered the bubble, Daniels got his shot against the Pelicans, and he cashed in. He dropped 28 points while hitting 7-of-10 3-point attempts. Guys don’t shoot 70 percent from 3-point range, but he did that evening.
What’s next for Troy Daniels
It’s unclear what’s next for Daniels. It’s very possible that Denver is interested in bringing him back next year as a depth option, and they could just as easily let him hit the free-agent market. They didn’t invest anything significant to acquire him, and it’s not like he was a key player in their run to the Western Conference Finals.
However, if Denver elects to let him walk, he won’t be a free agent next season. Daniels provides volume shooting from 3-point range at a great clip. That type of player is always going to end up on the roster because, in the modern NBA where teams are taking shots from outside or at the rim, he does one of those very well.
If Daniels is willing to accept another cheap short-term deal, the Nuggets could do much worse than bringing him back. Considering how Michael Malone will rarely play rookies because of their rawness on defense, Daniels could carve out a role on the second unit. He could be with Denver next year, but we’ll have to wait and see.