K.J. McDaniels made his earlier-than-expected NBA debut over the weekend, to glowing reviews.
Originally left off the Philadelphia 76ers roster for the Orlando segment of the NBA Summer League, the former Clemson star was added to the mix and figured prominently in the team's 83-77 first-day loss to the Orlando Magic and in its second-day 84-73 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
McDaniels had nine points in his debut performance, and then followed with a 13-point, four-rebound outing in the second. He blocked shots in both games.
CSNPhilly.com's blogger notes that while McDaniels' debut didn't get quite as much attention as that of center Nerlens Noel, "I was almost as impressed by our first look at K.J. McDaniels."
"The highest-drafted of our five second-rounders from a couple weeks ago, K.J. was nearly as much of a monster in affecting shots as Nerlens (with one absolutely beastly block), and he scored a solid nine points on 4-8 shooting, including a convincing pull-up jumper out of the pick-and-roll, and one pretty catch-and-shoot three. His defensive tenacity was immediately apparent, and his offense was surprisingly smooth. Hope we get to see more of K.J. over the next few weeks, as he played fewer than 20 minutes in this one."
NBA.com's report on the Sixers' second game singled out McDaniels for providing more than what shows on the boxscore:
"The rookie out of Clemson finished with 13 points (4/9 FG) and four rebounds, but in his case the box score didn’t tell the full story. Through two games, he is the Sixers’ leader in +/- at +24 (an NBA-specific stat that reflects the impact of each player on his team's scoring margin after controlling for the strength of every teammate and every opponent during each minute he's on the court) and has shown the ability to disrupt pick-and-rolls, stay in front of ballhandlers, and alter shots that made him the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014."
The Sixers will face the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, then will go against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. The championship round will be played on Friday.
The Las Vegas Summer League, for which McDaniels was originally scheduled, gets underway for the Sixers on Saturday, July 12.
Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc