Troy Daniels’ erratic production does not come as a total surprise for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Troy Daniels was the first strategic sign for the Los Angeles Lakers in July. Waiting on Kawhi Leonard’s decision for the next destination of his career, the Lakers, fresh off acquiring superstar Anthony Davis, had to somehow start filling their empty roster without compromising the cap space necessary to the possible Leonard coming.
Daniels was a nice addition who gave the Lakers some insurance in case the wait for Kawhi left the market deprived of shooters, the area where LA needed to improve the most and more urgently. He accepted a one-year minimum contract joining as a three-point specialist.
Unfortunately, the 6’4″ guard quickly faded into the background, eclipsed by the news of additions of sharpshooters as Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook and former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. No one talked about him anymore, but his name resurfaced during training camp, when he was labelled by teammates the best shooter on the team.
Unfortunately this prowess did not translate on the floor, with the inconsistency that has been defining his season, immediately showing from the very beginning.
In season-opener Troy scored six points shooting an awful 1-for-5 from three. In the following game he had 15 points on 4-for-8 from beyond the arc. Head Coach Frank Vogel did not waste time to define him again the best shooter on the team. Too soon, as he followed with two more 1-for-5 shooting nights. His season has gone on with these ups and downs (more downs) so far.
But does it come as a total surprise? Maybe Daniels’ teammates and coach were too generous defining him the best shooter on the team and appointed him of unrealistic expectations. After all, Daniels has never been a high-profile player in the league.
In six seasons and five different teams he has never played more than 20 minutes per game, and never played a prominent role. Although he has never shot less than 36 percent from three, he is not a regular of the big stage. Besides a successful stint in Memphis, Troy has seen his fair share of garbage time throughout his career in Houston, Minnesota, Charlotte and Phoenix.
After six NBA seasons he has not shown true signs of an improvement, counting on his three-point shot, reliable enough in non-key moments to allow him to survive in the league.
This time around he finds himself on the big stage and needs to show up to demonstrate that he can play in crunch time and make an impact for his team. Vogel keeps trusting him with valuable minutes on the floor, also by virtue of his defensive commitment. This is Daniels’ chance to prove that he is not just a background player, but he can contribute on the big stage, maybe the biggest stage.