Troy Daniels is on his 5th NBA team in as many seasons. He played for the Houston Rockets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies before the Suns traded for him this past summer.
Has he finally found a home in Phoenix? I believe so. And he may even be entrenched enough already to get a chance to start.
Daniels’ game has certainly spoken volumes for the team. This season is his 2nd best in terms of field goal percentage and points per game as well as his best in 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made. Overall, every single stat category is either tied or above his career average.
That’s right: He is on fire.
Before this year, he had 38 career double-digit scoring games. In 2017-18 so far, he’s already at 9. He scored 32 points vs the Toronto Raptors on 12/13/17, breaking his career-high of 31 points set on 12/31/16 vs the LA Lakers.
He was solely responsible for almost getting the Suns to pull out a win against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference on the second night of a back to back without Phoenix’ best player in Devin Booker.
Seriously, look at the box score. Without him, the team would have been blown out.
He also buried 7 treys for the 4th time in his career, just one triple short of his career-high 8 set against the Sacramento Kings on 1/25/16.
In addition, he made 11 field goals which is just one made shot shy of his career-high 12 in that 31 point game vs the Lakers.
This is hands down his top year in the Association thus far. He has been given consistent playing time and is rewarding head coach Jay Triano and the Suns for the green light they’ve given him.
In the four games so far with Booker sidelined, Daniels has made 44% of his long bombs, averaging 3.5 made treys to the tune of 15.3 points in 28 minutes per game off the bench.
This brings us to the question of whether Troy should start temporarily until Devin is healthy again and re-inserted into the lineup. Right now, Josh Jackson is starting at SG. In the four games sans Booker, he’s only made 2 of 12 treys and averaged only 7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. While he does bring intensity and defense, this can be brought off the bench against the top 6th man for each respective opponent.
This would also help ease Jackson into the game rather than throwing him right in.
If you look at the last ten plays Josh has made in the first six minutes of a game, this is what you will see:
Foul. Foul. Missed three. Missed layup. Turnover. Turnover. Foul. Two points. Turnover. Rebound.
That equates to only 2 points and 1 rebound while amounting 3 turnovers and 3 fouls. Jackson has a bright future but he is not a fill in SG.
Also, as many games as the Suns have come out cold from the gate this makes for a very good opportunity to start hotter and score more from the get go which would result in closer games as Daniels’ flame could heat up the rest of the team.
In 25 matches in his career where Troy has played at least 25 minutes, he has shot 49% on triples, made 4 big shots each night and scored 17 points per game.
He is the type of player that you call on to bring the fire power, especially when your best player is not available. There is no reason why Phoenix should not start him. If he does good enough, maybe even after Devin comes back. Start Devin at PG and keep Daniels at SG and have a two-headed dragon breathing fire from tip off.
The definition of a flamethrower is a mechanical incendiary device designed to project a long, controllable stream of fire. In a similar way, the mechanics of Troy Daniels’ jump shot provide a torching, consistent flame of offense for the Phoenix Suns.
Troy Daniels, I here by dub thee Sir Flamethrower. Mr. Triano, start him and reap the rewards.