K.J. McDaniels: What’ve Blocks Got To Do With It?

This is Part II of my 2014 draft preview, where I will attempt to project the NBA careers of today’s college stars by comparing them to past players based on Per 40 Minute statistics, position, height and weight profile, and career trajectory.

One of my favorite draft sleepers is Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels. McDaniels has developed into an All-American caliber player this year, but since nobody gives a shit about Clemson basketball, no one seems to have noticed.

Player

2P%

3P%

REB

AST

STL

BLK

TOV

PTS

K.J. McDaniels

.520

.300

8.6

1.9

1.5

3.3

2.8

20.7

Wesley Johnson

.540

.415

9.8

2.5

1.9

2.1

2.6

18.9

Tony Allen

.460

.395

6.9

3.5

2.5

1.0

2.8

20.3

Rodney Carney

.474

.325

6.7

1.6

1.4

1.0

1.9

21.5

Joe Alexander

.480

.268

6.4

2.4

0.7

1.5

2.2

16.9

Andre Iguodala (Soph.)

.493

.315

10.5

6.1

2.0

0.5

3.5

16.1

K.J.’s group is uninspiring, but at least he comes out noticeably better than Joe Alexander and Rodney Carney, the only two who are no longer in the NBA.  Statistically he is closest to Wes Johnson, a draft bust, but Johnson’s statistics were a bit misleading; he was a redshirt Junior because he transferred to Syracuse after two years at Iowa State, so he had the benefit of another year of development. Also, Johnson was only a 31.6% 3P shooter as a Cyclone and had fewer blocks and steals in those two years combined than he did in his one breakout season at Cuse. It’s almost as if Syracuse plays an impenetrable zone defense that inflates their players’ defensive metrics!

McDaniels rates out well in points, rebounds, and steals, but the only area where he really stands out is blocks. This is a great sign for a PF or C prospect, but what exactly does it mean for a swingman to have such ridiculous shot-blocking numbers? It proves that K.J. is a freakish athlete, but it’s not as though you need a statistical analysis to tell you that.


Perhaps more important than the blocks themselves is how they are accrued. Unlike a big man who can roam the paint and challenge shots in his area, McDaniels is a perimeter player who blocks shots by staying step-for-step with his man and out-leaping him at the point of attack. This is an unbelievable defensive skill, one that may be even more indicative of defensive dominance than steals rate, which can reward guys who ball-watch and cheat passing lanes.


K.J. has some real concerns as an outside shooter and playmaker at the pro level, but he has all the tools to be a good slasher and an elite perimeter defender in the mold of Tony Allen.

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