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Troy Daniels: Now or never

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Will this be a breakout year for Daniels, or will he fade into the background?

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Daniels has been in Memphis for one full season after signing a three-year deal with the Grizzlies last summer. In his 67 games last year, fans watched the roller coaster of Daniels as he struggled to find his identity and role with this team off of the bench. Unquestionably, his presence gave a boost to the second unit shooting-wise, but his numbers at the beginning of last season were disappointing.

However, as the season progressed, Daniels found his groove and later went on a stretch where he was on fire from three, and fans took notice. He became a solid addition to the rotation, and it was nice to have another shooter on the team, especially when Chandler Parsons was performing so poorly/was out due to injury. On the year, Daniels averaged 8.2 PPG and shot 38.9% from three point range. He averaged a career-high 17.7 minutes per game, and he had 6 games of scoring 20+ points.

Despite all of this, Daniels faded into the background during the postseason and little has been discussed of him during the offseason. In the playoffs, Daniels scored a total of 9 points, and he shot 33.3% from the field and from beyond the arc.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

For the Grizzlies, Tony Allen is likely gone and Chandler Parsons’ health remains a question mark. But now, as Troy Daniels enters the second year of his contract, he has some new competition at the shooting guard position. Former Memphis Tiger Tyreke Evans, who averaged 10.3 PPG and 3.1 assists last year, is a new addition to the roster.

In addition, Ben McLemore is another shooting guard who’ll be joining the Grizzlies this year. He averaged 8.1 PPG and shot 38.2% from beyond the arc for the Sacramento Kings last season. Unfortunately though, McLemore has a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot that’ll keep him sidelined for 12 weeks, so his role this year is uncertain.

Don’t forget about Wayne Selden Jr. either, who made an impressive splash in the Las Vegas Summer League for Memphis. The athletic shooting guard not only showed out in the summer, but he definitely also had flashes of potential during his limited stint last season for the Grizzlies.

Therefore, Daniels will have to be more consistent offensively and defensively to earn a solid spot in the rotation this year. Regardless of his marksmanship from range, he main thing against Daniels is his defense. On the year, he had a defensive rating of 104.3 (per NBA.com).

Luckily, he makes up for this weak spot with his sharp-shooting, which is something the Grizzlies definitely need on the floor. He had an effective field goal percentage of 51.3% and made 138 three pointers in the 67 games he played in for Memphis (per NBA.com).

So, now it remains to be seen how Troy Daniels will respond to the roster shakeup and how he’ll fit into this new-look Grizzlies under Coach Fizdale. It won’t be easy for Daniels, but he did prove last season that he can help spread the floor for Memphis and be a weapon from beyond the arc:

But will spurts of explosive shooting save Daniels from disappearing into the background? Probably not.

The ceiling for Daniels this season is simple. He could be a consistent threat from beyond the arc and give Memphis a boost around the perimeter on a nightly basis, knocking down a couple threes every game. His defense could continue to be lackluster, but his shooting would likely make him enough of a valuable asset to give him 15-20 minutes on a nightly basis.

Then there’s the worst-case scenario for Troy Daniels. With stacked competition at the shooting guard position, Daniels could fail to make enough of an offensive impact on a regular basis. And because his shooting wouldn’t be enough to make him stand out, his unreliable defense would become a greater liability for the team. As a result, he could easily fade into the background behind Selden, Evans, and McLemore (when he returns), all of whom have great all-around potential offensively.

He could land in the middle of these two hypothetical scenarios, but that might not be enough for him to get considerable minutes in the rotation. It’s paramount for Daniels to be an offensive weapon off the bench at the beginning of the season before McLemore returns and adds another shooting guard to the mix. As fans saw last year, Daniels has the potential to be a real asset off the bench for the Grizzlies and help spread the floor. He’s athletic, quick, and is a talented shooter.

But with Fizdale’s desired system and a new-look Grizzlies team, Daniels will have more competition at his position and will have to stand out from the crowd in order to keep fans’ and coaches’ attention.

This could be Troy Daniels’ breakout year, or it could be the year of his downfall. It’s up to him to determine his future with the Memphis Grizzlies and Coach Fizdale.

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