If you can recall a significant Troy Daniels moment, you probably remember his game-winning three-point shot to win game 3 in the 2014 first round series against the Trail Blazers. After that brief moment of glory, things kind of went sideways for Daniels. The following season he was traded twice and ended up luxuriating on the Charlotte Hornets’ bench for most of the season.
Though that timeline might suggest that he is destined for another stint in the D-League, he is a player that can help space the floor for a team, especially one that suffers from a dearth of shooting as the Charlotte Hornets does. There were brief flashes last season where we were able to see the player and shooter that Rockets general manager Daryl Morey saw when he signed him. One performance, in particular, stands out as example of what he can do for a team:
Obviously Daniels is not a consistent 20-plus points-per-game scorer, but he is a dangerous shooter that can get hot very quickly. During his time with the Hornets, Daniels shot 47 percent from the three-point line. Admittedly his shooting is based on a very small sample size; he only played in eleven games for the Hornets. However, Daniels ended up shooting 36 percent from three for the season, which was ten percentage points higher than the league average.
It is understandable why Daniels wasn’t featured more last season. Despite the shooting he brings, his defense is lacking. Though he was with the Charlotte Hornets for a short time, he managed to post a defensive plus minus of -3.7. Believe it or not, that was the highest mark he posted between the three teams he played for last season. The Hornets’ defense was a bit of a nightmare last season because of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s prolonged absence, so giving a playing time to a defensive minus might not be part of the coaching staff’s agenda.
Daniels won’t help a team’s defense, but he is probably the best shooter currently on the Charlotte Hornet’s roster. The team has perimeter scores in Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lin, but they are streaky at best. They provide inefficient offense that cannot be depended upon. Now that the team has acquired Nicolas Batum–an established facilitator–Daniels can be put to optimal use.
Last season the team only had one dependable playmaker, Kemba Walker, and he still has trouble identifying when to score or when to pass. The lack of other shooters didn’t help that situation either. Based on comments made by coach Steve Clifford, the team’s offense will feature more movement so things won’t be as stagnant and isolation heavy. This will probably help Daniels’s chances of playing more because passing and off ball movement are key to producing open shots.
The team might have a problem distributing minutes between Walker, Batum, and Lin in the backcourt, but having Daniels on the floor should be a priority for the Hornets. The team finished dead last in three-point shooting; the team only made 31.8 percent of shots from the three-point line. That isn’t an ideal ranking in the pace-and-space era of the NBA. To make the playoffs, let alone have long-term success, the Charlotte Hornets will need shooting, and Troy Daniels offers that in abundance.