Looking At Antonio Daniels

Kurt —  July 4, 2005

As names of free angents (or in trades) come up that the Lakers may be interested in I’ll try to give some detailed info on those players. (There may be a bigger post with some of the more discussed names coming up, when I have more time, but I didn’t want to wait on the hottest name on the board.)

Mitch Kupchak’s first call apparently was to Antonio Daniels — and that was a good choice. No free agent may be better suited to Phil’s system and fit a Laker need more than the Seattle back up point guard. He would be a great pick up and make the Lakers better almost instantly.

Daniels was fourth on the Sonics this past season in +/-, a solid +5.3, and he had a PER of 18.45 (which would have been second on the Lakers to Kobe). He averaged 16.6 points and 6.1 assists per 40 minutes, with just 1.5 turnovers during that same time. He also had a good 1.11 points per shot attempt, which would have ranked him third on the Lakers last year. When on the floor he took about 19% of his teams shots and had an eFG% of 47.8% (solid but not spectacular). To break that down further, about 75% of his shots were jump shots outside of 15 feet, where he shot 42.5%. He shot just 29.7% from three-point range last year, but that may have been on account of how he was used because he shot 36.2% the year before and is at 32% for his career. On the 23% of his shots Daniels took inside of 15 feet he shot 60.7% and he drew a foul on 13.7% of his total shots.

More important to filling the Lakers needs is defense, and his opponents PER was just 13.5 (against opposing point guards, he does even better against shooting guards). Opponents shoot just 45.1% (eFG%) against him, for comparison Chuck Atkins number was 49.6%.

Daniels would not be a risk-free get for the Lakers — last year he played just 51% of the Sonics minutes, he would likely play more this year and traditionally when minutes and workload go up, efficiency goes down. That said, what Daniels would be asked to do inside of the triangle would be very structured and plays to his strengths — he is not going to be asked to be Steve Nash, but he will get some key opportunities.

The biggest problem may be getting him — Cleveland has more money under the cap to offer him and it would take him back to play close to where he grew up (he was born in Columbus), as the linked article above points out. Oh, and they have that LeBron guy. Seattle wants him back as well, but the rumor is he wants to start, something he could do in LA. The Lakers have just the mid-level exception to offer (expected to be about $5.3 million), which would be a big step up from the $2.2 he made the last two years but maybe less than other offers. But the Lakers do have the draws of Phil, Kobe and the legacy, not to mention the chance to meet Jack Nicholson.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for this one.

Kurt

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