It's a G:TB tradition, born of laziness and lack of new ideas, to replay our ode to playoff hockey at this time of year. And that still may very well happen.
But it's also NBA playoff time, and something came across our desk yesterday that made us stand up and take notice of things roundball.
Troy Daniels is a rookie for the Houston Rockets by way of VCU, where he owns the school's single-season record for made three pointers. He drained 124 triples in his senior season, including 11 in one game against East Tennessee State.
Daniels has spent most of this season in the D-League, where he's averaging 21.5 points per game, shooting 40.1% from deep. His long-distance acumen has translated from college to the professional level, as he's making five three-pointers per game, and 78% of his shots come from behind the arc. He takes 12.5 threes a game in D-League play. He was named a D-League All-Star, and has led the Rio Grande Vipers to a berth in the playoffs, while setting a D-League record for three-pointers in a season with 240.
He also caught the attention of the Rockets brass, who signed him to an NBA contract in February and brought him up to the League in March. Daniels has played in five games for Houston, taking advantage of starters resting in the season finale to score a career-high 22 against New Orleans on Wednesday night.
He dropped those 22 just a few days after playing in a Vipers D-League playoff game and a Rockets game on the same day. On April 12, Daniels started and scored 30 points in 44 minutes as the Vipers fell to the Iowa Energy. He got on a plane (with Vipers teammate Robert Covington) and traveled to Houston, where he played 12 minutes off the bench. You can forgive him if his legs were a bit tired, as he only made one of five shots in the Rockets' 111-104 win over the Pelicans.
Daniels has earned consideration from Rockets coach Kevin McHale for a spot in Houston's playoff rotation, something that seems inconceivable for a rookie with five games of NBA experience. McHale said after the season-finale, "He's very diligent, he plays hard. He's a bright kid. He knows what we are trying to do. I like him."
If nothing else, the 6'4" Daniels has earned a look next season. But only if he's held to one game per day.