Marquis Daniels was finding a pretty good groove before he got hurt last year. He provided a solid contribution off the bench, did a very good job defensively, and his loss triggered an avalanche of moves that can, in part, be blamed for the Celtics' late season swoon.
Chris Forsberg brought up the possibility of bringing back Daniels…
Based on the reaction in the comments, readers were almost unanimously against the idea. That surprised us because we're not sure people realize just how good Daniels was defensively last season.
According to Synergy Sports data, Daniels ranked in the 96th percentile among all NBA defenders, allowing a mere .731 points per play. Among players with at least 250 defensive plays last season, Daniels ranked No. 1 overall with some pretty lofty company close behind including Dwight Howard (3rd, 0.735 points per play), LeBron James (7th, .762), and Tony Allen (8th, .764). Opponents shot a mere 32.9 percent against Daniels and, using that same 250 play minimum, James (4th, 33.9 percent) and Allen (6th, 34.2 percent) were still chasing Daniels.
And it's not like Daniels' sampling size was extraordinarily small. He appeared in 49 games, logging 19.1 minutes per contest. Until his freak injury, Daniels was the only pure swingman behind Paul Pierce. Based on Synergy data, Daniels rated out as excellent (83rd percentile or better) in spot-up (89th percentile), pick-and-roll (89th), off-screen (85th) and hand-off (93rd) situations, which accounted for 73.4 percent of his total plays. Only against isolation plays (44th percentile, 16.9 percent of his total plays) was Daniels rated merely average.
Pretty impressive set of numbers for Quisy. Of course, the down-side is that he's been so injury prone over his career that a stiff breeze could knock him out for a couple of weeks. The spine injury was the most freakish of them all, but his agent says the surgery to correct it will leave him healthier than he's ever been.
So here we sit with more than half the roster empty and not much money to play with no matter what the new CBA presents. Marquis Daniels is out there having loved his time in Boston and team that loves him right back. Are you willing to take another chance on Quisy, or are you too put off by his injury history to trust him to last 82 games (or however many the NBA plays this season)?
I say yes… IF the C's bring Jeff Green back. Quis would be great insurance should Green not figure it out AND it would let the C's rest Paul Pierce. Plus, an injury in this scenario would be easier to handle, and it might not result in Danny Ainge trading a third of his roster out of necessity.
And I say this as a fan of his too. I flat out like the guy. He's a quiet professional on the court that is always trying to do what's best for the team. I think he deserves another shot and I think he's good enough to help. It'd be nice to see Quis go through a full season as a key contributor. It would be a great story.