When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for Anthony Davis, general manager Rob Pelinka and the front office had a clear idea of how they wanted to build the roster.
A season after focusing on playmakers and ball handlers, the Lakers went out and signed shooters to surround Davis and LeBron James. Troy Daniels was targeted early and he signed a one-year deal with Los Angeles, adding some outside shooting off the bench.
However, Daniels has struggled to get much playing time behind Avery Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, often going several games in a row without seeing the floor. However, injuries have forced head coach Frank Vogel to insert the sharpshooter into the lineups and he has answered the bell so far.
After the loss to the Orlando Magic, Daniels talked about how getting minutes has helped him build some offensive momentum.
“The more you play, the more rhythm you get. Real game action is the best teacher. You can’t really simulate that in practice, so actually getting out there and getting some real minutes definitely creates rhythm and confidence with me and Quinn and… next man up, just gotta be ready to play,” Daniels said.
The 28-year-old also discussed how he is able to enter games cold and still be able to immediately knock down shots.
“Think it’s more mindset than anything,” Daniels shared. “You can really be defeated before you get in the game just thinking bad thoughts, so I try to get my mind right before I get in the game and just cheer my teammates on and then go out there and do what I do.”
Against the Magic, the Lakers struggled to get anything going from the field as Orlando did a good job of packing the paint and getting out to contest Los Angeles perimeter shots. Searching for a spark, Vogel looked to Daniels who came in and provided a much-needed lift by hitting four of his five three-point attempts.
Daniels and Quinn Cook have been bright spots the past couple of games for Los Angeles, a clear sign the team’s ‘next man up’ mentality is far more than talk. Their ability to space the floor and get hot in a hurry has allowed the Lakers to go on several runs, but it was not enough to beat a scrappy Magic team.
Daniels and Cook may have earned themselves more minutes with their recent performances and it will be interesting to see if Vogel continues to deploy them as the 2019-20 NBA season wears on.