Free agent swingman Marquis Daniels, who last played for the Boston Celtics, will reportedly sign a contract with the Milwaukee Bucks for the upcoming season, according to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn. Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal-Times reports that the deal is likely a one-year veteran's minimum contract.
Daniels signed with the Celtics last December, almost a year after undergoing surgery on his spinal cord to address an injury sustained in February 2011. He appeared in 38 games last year, averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in a little under 13 minutes per game. He was clearly playing at less than full capability, shooting just 36.4% from the floor. In his previous two seasons in Boston, Daniels averaged over 49% shooting.
Daniels would seemingly fill Milwaukee's oft-mentioned need/desire/obsession for a "big guard" who can defend opposing SGs. He's a solid defender by reputation, and with Luc Mbah a Moute expected to play a bigger role for the Bucks this season, he should spend the majority of his playing time as the de facto backup SG. As a career 22.6% three-point shooter, he doesn't provide any floor spacing, meaning the bench unit could still face some offensive issues unless Mike Dunleavy reprises his exceptional 6th-Man performance of last season.
The financial/cap implications of this deal are negligible. Veteran's minimum deals can be signed by any team an open roster spot at any time, regardless of cap space, and a portion of the salary is reimbursed to the paying team by the NBA office. It doesn't really get much more low-risk than this.
Daniels' skillset and play style bears some resemblance to another recent Bucks acquisition as well:
In a lot of ways, Marquis Daniels is a lot like Shaun Livingston: skinny, great handle, no jump shot, freaky past injury.— K L Chouinard (@AnaheimAmigos) September 20, 2012
Shaun Livingston had some exciting moments with the Bucks, but didn't make enough impact to earn a second tour of duty in Milwaukee. Given his age, signing Daniels feels like more of a spot fix, whereas any push to acquire Livingston on the Bucks' part at the time was essentially taking a flyer on a player who once boasted significant upside. But Daniels likely won't provide even the limited offensive production Livingston did: he's an extremely poor shooter and below-average at the line.
Daniels will presumably be called on to spell Monta Ellis and provide some size and defensive pressure against bigger two guards, but his minutes will likely be limited, if only because Ellis is consistently a high-minute player. He gives the Bucks yet another "stopper" on their bench, but they remain short on reserve offensive options beyond Dunleavy.
One other factor to keep in mind will be the performance of rookie second-round draft pick Doron Lamb. Lamb's offensive ability is obvious, and it's not unreasonable to expect his three-point shooting ability to translate fairly well right out of the gates. But Lamb also boasts significant length, considering his stature, and scouts have openly opined he could be an above-average defender. Daniels seems like the safer bet in that regard given his track record, but if Lamb proves to be NBA-ready on both ends of the floor, he could earn a larger role.