Over two years ago the then-Charlotte (redacted) brought Troy Daniels in as a member of its summer league team. Daniels went through the summer and the fall training camp with the team before being released shortly before the season began.
On February 10, 2015, the Charlotte Hornets struck a deal as they strived for the playoffs. In their effort of acquiring guard Mo Williams, they also obtained Daniels as a throw-in. The Minnesota Timberwolves needed to open another roster spot due to another trade they were involved in so they gave the Hornets a 2-for-1 player deal.
In his rookie season with the Houston Rockets, Daniels shot an impressive 48 percent from 3-point land in limited duty. In his second season with Houston and Minnesota, he shot 32 percent from beyond the arc. Not a truly terrible mark, but one that should be higher since Daniels and others brand him as a shooter.
Daniels saw limited time once he arrived in Charlotte, playing in only 11 games. It's hard to judge someone off only 135 minutes of game action, the majority of which came in the final four games of the year but there are some worthy notes.
In Charlotte, Daniels shot 45.8 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from 3-point land. The majority of his shots were treys, 61 percent of his 59 field goal attempts to be exact. He made 17 of the 36 3-pointers he attempted in purple and teal.
Possible bad news: 11.1 percent of his 3-point attempts were corner 3's, a growing and important shot, but Daniels only connected on 25% of them. That only computes to going 1-of-4 from the corner but that needs to be an area of the court Daniels needs to master. Possible good news: Daniels showed flashes of being an above average spot-up shooter everywhere else, 65 percent of his made treys were assisted.
Again it's hard to judge Daniels, good or bad, given the sample we have to look at this season but there may be something here. His offensive rating per 100 possessions was 110. His 16.1 PER here was higher than it was anywhere else and his 62% true-shooting percentage was solid for his young career.
The last four nights of the regular season, Daniels played 20, 28, 28, and 29 minutes respectively. Those four nights in April marked 105 of his 135 minutes with the Hornets this season. Daniels set a season-high 15 points on April 10 vs. Atlanta and then matched it three nights later against Houston. In the regular season finale, Daniels went off. Coming off the bench, he exploded for a career-high 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. He hit a career high six 3-pointers that night. In the final four games of the season, Daniels set or matched a high for points three times.
When Daniels first arrived, he described himself to the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell as someone who'd bring, "defensive energy, leadership when needed,"and someone that could hit the open-3. Daniels seems to be of great character and although he can be liability defensively, he gives effort on that end. While competency in those areas are a plus, the gift Daniels really could bring is space. Charlotte's offense suffocated for much of the year because of the shooting woes this team endured. Daniels has shown the ability to stretch the floor, create attention on the arc, and knock down the open trey. He's not the greatest dribbler in the world but he's shown ability to dribble around defenders when they try to run him off the line. Daniels can improve his ball-handling this offseason which could cause a defense to collapse if it stretches for his outside shot then has to recover for a sound drive and possible kick.
Daniels knows this too. "I have to do something more than just shoot the ball. I have to be able to create for others," Daniels told Bonnell. Head coach Steve Clifford remarked that Daniels was much better in the pick-and-roll on both ends since his rookie year, something Daniels said he's worked on since being released from Charlotte because Clifford advised him to.
Like Brian Roberts report card, Daniels' "Top Play" should be renamed "Top Moment." Daniels went off for 24 points on six 3-pointers in the regular season finale at Toronto. En fuego.
He has a Twitter account, and while it's not going to end up on any must-follow lists, he's a good follow: @troydaniels. From his tweets, it's evident he loves his family, his friends, basketball, and his school (VCU).
Daniels never saw speaking to the media as a burden and always seemed happy to do so, no matter the circumstances or how long it took.
As the 2015-2016 season begins, Daniels will enter the last season of his current deal. He'll make a base salary of $947,276 next season. "I had a lot of fun playing in the city of Charlotte. I love the fans and it was a great opportunity," Daniels said after the season. While he can struggle on defense at times, if the Hornets can't improve their outside shooting this summer, Daniels may need a closer look as a rotation player next season. "His chance to be a rotation player is similar to what Gary (Neal) grew into as he got older," Clifford said when asked about Daniels. Could he transform into the type of player he was traded for? At least a summer of work will have to happen first.