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Australia's next NBA star prepares to follow in Ben Simmons' footsteps

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Australia’s next NBA star prepares to follow in Ben Simmons’ footsteps: Why 203cm giant Dyson Daniels will be one of the first players taken in this year’s draft

  • Dyson Daniels is set to be the next Australian hotshot to make it to the NBA 
  • Daniels is the son of Bendigo legend Ricky Daniels and should be a top 10 pick 
  • He is seen as a specialist defender and has impressed in the G-League 
  • Ben Simmons, Josh Giddey and Dante Exum have all made it to the NBA 

Ben Simmons, Josh Giddey, Dante Exum and now Dyson Daniels – Australia continues to punch above its weight in the NBA, with the latter one of the top-ranked prospects of the 2022 draft.

Daniels has long been a darling of the Victoria and Australia underage ranks, and the NBA hopeful has risen up the draft boards despite eschewing the typical college football pathway – with ESPN rating him as the sixth-best prospect.

Instead, the talented shooting guard – and son of Bendigo Braves legend Ricky Daniels – decided to test his mettle in the G-League, the NBA’s minor competition – and after a slow start he absolutely proved he could cut it on the big stage.

Daniels is the son of Bendigo Braves legend Ricky Daniels

The shooting guard has played in the G-League

Dyson Daniels looks destined to be the next NBA star hailing from Australia

He played for Ignite, a new team founded in 2020 dedicated solely for the purpose of developing young prospects for the draft.

As expected, Daniels grew into the competition and averaged 11.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2 steals, and 0.8 blocks.

‘I’ve loved it. Going over there was a risk for me, but it paid off,’ Daniels told ESPN’s ‘The Jump’ in March.

‘I really enjoyed my time. We had a good group of guys that enjoyed playing together. We had a great coaching staff and I learned a lot and developed on and off the court which was the main reason I went there.’

The Victorian has impressed in the G-League and looks set to be a top 10 draft pick

The Victorian has impressed in the G-League and looks set to be a top 10 draft pick

Standing at 6ft8, Daniels is a strong defender that can guard from one through four, although he is expected to eventually be able to cover five.

‘I think that’s [his defence] what’s going to get him on a court immediately when he gets to the NBA,’ Ignite head coach Jason Hart told foxsports.com.au.

‘His ability to guard one through four and as he gets stronger he’ll be able to guard one to five because he’s a big man.’

‘I genuinely think he could be an elite defender at NBA level,’ Melbourne United assistant coach Justin Schueller – who mentored Daniels at youth national level, added. 

He will hope to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Josh Giddey (above) in his rookie season

He will hope to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Josh Giddey (above) in his rookie season

‘He’s got so many gifts at that end — his range, his ability to sit down and guard people and the physicality he can bring there.’ 

Daniels’s holistic approach to the game has seen experts compare the young gun to his countryman Josh Giddey, who was picked by the Oklahoma Thunder with the sixth overall pick last year.

He has worked out with the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks. 

Wherever Daniels lands, he is surely destined for a long and prosperous NBA career. 

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