Unless you’ve been maintaining radio silence since the end of last season, you know that Troy Daniels is in training camp with the Charlotte Bobcats this week. Like most undrafted free agents, Daniels will face an uphill battle in order to actually grab a roster spot. VCU fans justifiably want to know what kind of shot Daniels has of making the team. Let’s have a look.
Factor No. 1: Roster space.
NBA rosters consist of 13 active players, plus two inactive spots. The Bobcats currently have five guards – Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions, Jannero Pargo and Ben Gordon – signed to guaranteed contracts.
While Charlotte could certainly choose to carry three shooting guards, don’t expect them to drop a point guard to free up the space, according to Bobcats’ beat writer Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
@VCUHorns Pargo is guaranteed. More importantly, Clifford said a veteran 3rd point was imperative.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) October 2, 2013
The most likely avenue for Daniels is if someone from the logjam at center comes off the board, perhaps journeyman Anthony Tolliver or veteran Brendan Haywood. Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson definitely aren’t going anywhere, and Josh McRoberts and Bismack Biyombo are also fairly entrenched. Bobcats’ Coach Steve Clifford is also said to like small forward Jeffery Taylor. I’m unsure how Zeller, the No. 4 pick in the NBA Draft this summer, could impact Jeff Adrien’s future with the club.
So really, Daniels could be fighting for what could be as few as zero and as many as two roster spots.
Factor No. 2: Three-Point Shooting
While roster space may be tight, the Bobcats absolutely have to do something about their awful 3-point shooting – Daniels’ forte. The Bobcats were 27th in the NBA last season in 3-point percentage (.335). Cliffard recently told Bonnell that upgrading the Bobcats’ accuracy from beyond the arc is a priority.
You need to spread defenses out. Your shooting is your spacing. If you look at the good teams, they play guys who can make 3s. They’re only going to guard you to where you can shoot. We have to create more quality 3s and we have to shoot a better percentage.
The team has already added former long-range gunner Mark Price as an assistant coach, but he’ll have his work cut out for him. Charlotte’s five guards (Walker, Henderson, Pargo, Sessions and Gordon) shot a combined .347 (315-of-907) from 3-point range last season. It would be worse, if not for Gordon’s solid .387 (113-of-292) mark. There’s certainly room there for Daniels to make an impression with the coaching staff in camp.
Other factors: Age, affordability.
Daniels won’t impact the team’s salary cap in any demonstrable way, so there’s no danger of him getting caught in a salary crunch. In fact, Daniels could offer some flexibility, if necessary. The NBA salary cap for 2013-14 is said to be set at a little under $59 million, and Charlotte has a little less than that in guaranteed deals on the books.
Given Daniels age (22), along with his pure shooting ability and good size for an NBA shooting guard (6-foot-4, 200 pounds), they could also see a benefit to stashing him in the NBA D-League for a year or two, where he could sharpen his skills.
It’ll be interesting to see how it shakes out. Daniels will obviously have to play well in training camp, but if we’ve learned anything about Troy Daniels over the last four years, it’s that he’s always got a shot.