Marquis Daniels is a frustrating player to watch. Not frustrating in the way Tony Allen was, where you watch him and want to throw your TV out the window, but frustrating nonetheless.
There are times Daniels looks like a matchup nightmare. He posts people up, and they are at his mercy. Tommy Heinsohn loves talking about Daniels’ herky-jerky moves, and it’s true. There’s something unorthodox about Daniels’s offensive repertoire. He shoots from odd angles, and he pump fakes at weird times.
At one point during last night’s game, Daniels saw the bigger J.J. Hickson on him. Rather than take him outside, as most guards would when a big men defends them, Daniels posted up. He worked Hickson into the middle of the lane, but Hickson was still right on Daniels’s shooting hand. So what did Daniels do next? A quick up fake, which lifted Hickson off his feet. While Hickson was still in the air, Daniels shot a short fadeaway. Money in the bank. After the bucket, Heinsohn could only laugh. At times, Daniels makes scoring in the post look so easy. He makes defending his herky-jerky moves look almost impossible.
Sadly, Daniels isn’t always so difficult to defend. A lot of the time, he fails to stand out. Yesterday was only the second time Daniels scored in double figures all season. For a player with scoring ability, who plays almost 20 minutes per game, double-digit performances should come more often. No?
“He surprises me and he upsets me, because I know he can do it every night,’’ Doc Rivers told the Boston Herald. “And I’m going to stay on him, because he has that in him. I think he can be that terrific every single night. I really do.’’
But Daniels has rarely shown those scoring outbursts. Yesterday, Daniels exhibited an aggressiveness he normally hides. Boobie Gibson was defending him, and Daniels clearly understood it was a mismatch.
“Mouse in the house,” Daniels might as well have called out. He abused the Cavs’ guard in the post, making quick work of the smaller Boobie. (Note: “Making quick work of the smaller Boobie” is not something I ever thought I would mention on this blog.)
Daniels can also score against players his own size (see: the aforementioned move on Hickson), but doesn’t become aggressive unless he senses a mismatch. Daniels’s only other double digit game came against the Chicago Bulls. In that game, Kyle Korver (aka Mr. Matador defense) defended Daniels.
Yesterday, Doc Rivers (who was just named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month) gave credit to Daniels and Glen Davis.
“When the second unit came in, they got to what we were trying to do to start the game,’’ Rivers told the Boston Globe. “They pounded it down low with Baby and Marquis [Daniels]. I thought those were the two guys that changed the game for us.’’
Daniels can be an impact player. He can provide more than just a steady hand, which he almost always displays. He can score, and he can create mismatches, and he can alter the outcome of games.
Next, he just has to perform every single night.