When Marty Clarke watched Dyson Daniels play for the primary time, Daniels was 14 years old.
Daniels, who was competing within the U-16 boys basketball championships in Perth, Australia, was a 12 months younger than most of his competition. Only 5-foot-9 on the time, he was also several inches shorter.
The team Daniels was playing against tried to benefit from this by pressuring him full-court. Daniels didn’t crack.
“He’s all the time had great composure,” Clarke said. “That was the thing that stood out even when he was 14 years old. He was tiny they usually were pressuring him, but they didn’t appear to rush him. He doesn’t appear to get hurried up.”
Daniels’ ability to never get hurried is, paradoxically, a part of what helped him arrive to the NBA ahead of schedule. In June, the Pelicans used the No. 8 pick on the Bendigo, Australia native. It was the second 12 months in a row an NBA team selected an Australian teenager within the lottery. In 2021, the Oklahoma City Thunder chosen Josh Giddey with the No. 6 pick.
Daniels, 19, and Giddey, 20, overlapped for 14 months on the NBA Global Academy in Canberra, Australia. Monday, they’ll face one another for the primary time as pros.
“The progression wasn’t expected like this,” said Clarke, who’s the technical director on the NBA Global Academy in Australia. “It was, ‘They’ll go to school. They shall be pros somewhere.’ Remember, they’re only 19 and 20. They usually are not 23- and 24-year-olds who’ve graduated from college.”
The NBA Global Academy in Australia opened in 2017. It’s one in all 4 outposts the league has established outside of the USA. The others are in India, Mexico and Senegal.
At 16 years old, Daniels joined so he could begin preparing for his future as a professional. Players practice within the morning, attend classes throughout the day and return to the gym within the afternoon for more training. Clarke said there’s as much of a concentrate on learning to think the sport as there’s on individual skill development.
“The piece we add is the flexibility to make decisions when you get past your man,” Clarke said. “Am I going to attain excessive? Am I going to get behind him? Am I going to undergo him? Or do I want to pass it?
“That’s the piece I believe plenty of places miss. They teach the dribble moves and finish moves. But often in games, you don’t get to the ending piece. You’ve gotten to make a pass.”
Daniels and Giddey are each listed at 6-foot-8. They’re big ballhandlers who excel at spreading the ball around to their teammates.
In a house win over the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this month, Daniels hurled an overhead pass greater than 70 feet downcourt. His touchdown strike arrange Naji Marshall for an uncontested layup.
BIG ENERGY!!! pic.twitter.com/FSN3XOlQCJ
— Latest Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) November 16, 2022
Daniels stuffed the stat sheet that night, scoring three points, grabbing nine rebounds, blocking one and grabbing one steal in 17 minutes.
“He’s only 19, but he doesn’t play prefer it,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “He understands the sport at a high level.”
Daniels is the exception to the rule that NBA rookies struggle on defense. In October, Green inserted Daniels right into a game against the Dallas Mavericks. His project was to protect MVP contender Luka Doncic. Doncic scored 37 points, but Daniels held his ground, stealing the ball from Doncic twice.
“He just has a singular ability to be ready,” Clarke said. “Most times, the offense will all the time have a bonus because they’re a half-step in front. When Dyson is defending you, you never get a half-step in front of him.”
In 2021, Daniels decided to go away Australia so he could join the Ignite, which allows players to realize experience against NBA G League players before entering the draft. At first, Daniels said it was difficult to be on his own 1000’s of miles away from home. But by the top of the season, he had turn out to be one in all the Ignite’s Most worthy players.
“The mental side of being on your personal, playing some bad games and going back to your room, it may possibly be tough,” Daniels said. “I needed to learn methods to play at this level. Easy methods to prepare for games higher. Easy methods to recuperate higher. All it was, was putting within the work after games.”
Pelicans decision-makers have been impressed by Daniels’ maturity. Green has called him a “young old man.” On the NBA Global Academy, Clarke said Daniels used to sometimes take hand-written notes in film sessions.
“He’s going to be within the league for a very long time because he has that maturity piece,” Clarke said.
Clarke shall be watching from Australia when Daniels and Giddey play Monday. Clarke all the time believed a day like this may come — just not this early.
“They found a strategy to fast-track themselves,” Clarke said. “How does that occur? Natural ability. Exertions. And the opposite one is capability to learn. Those two kids’ capability to learn and adapt to situations thrown in front of them, which is what we do at practice. We teach them to unravel problems.”