Eye on the Draft: Don't be surprised if Clemson's K.J. McDaniels is the pick for the Celtics at #17

All month long we're breaking down the top NBA draft prospects with our Eye on the Draft series. Today it's Clemson small forward K.J. McDaniels, a possible pick for the Celtics at #17.

Name: K.J. McDaniels

College: Clemson

Age: 21 (turns 22 on February 9th, 2015)

Height: 6'6"

Weight: 196 pounds

Wingspan: 6'11.25"

2013-14 numbers: 17.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 2.8 BPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 46% FG, 30% 3 PT, 84% FT

Position: SF

Draft Express mock prediction: 29th overall to the Thunder

Strengths: McDaniels has the potential to be a lockdown defender in the NBA, with a high defensive IQ, great athleticism and long wingspan. He averaged a fairly ridiculous 2.8 blocks per game from the SF position last year at Clemson to go with 1.1 SPG, showing his playmaking abilities off. He's also quick enough to guard 2s on the perimeter, giving him versatility on that end of the floor.

Offensively, McDaniels is a work in progress shooting-wise, but is above average in every other facet of the game. He is great in transition, can get to the basket (5.1 FTA per game), and shot 53% on two pointers.

The 21-year-old is also a strong rebounder (8 per 36 minutes) and is considered to be a hard worker/glue guy, which in tandem with his athleticism makes him a really interesting prospect.

Weaknesses: McDaniels is a very good free throw shooter, and good from mid-range, but has not been able to translate that to the three-point line as of yet. He shot just 30% from the college three (and took four per game) last year, a troubling sign as the NBA line is obviously even further away. It's hard to make it as a SF in the NBA without the ability to stretch the defense, so McDaniels needs to expand his range.

McDaniels is also not very big, standing 6'6" with shoes and weighing only 196 pounds. His athleticism and wingspan make up for some of this, but he will likely need to put on some muscle to match the size that a lot of NBA small forwards have.

Fit with the Celtics: I like McDaniels a lot, and feel like he's being undervalued because he was not a highly ranked guy coming into the season. His big season caught a lot of people by surprise, and it's hard to climb from "fringe second round pick" up to lottery selection. But he has all of the tools to be great defensively, and is athletic enough to be useful on the offensive end as well. He's a consistent jumper away from being a starter in the league for a long time, and at worst should be a good role player.

That said, I doubt he'll be the best guy on the Celtics board at #17. Especially since he worked out with the team June 3rd and all we heard about was how much they were impressed with Kyle Anderson, a fellow SF projected to go in the late first round. But it's a name worth keeping an eye on, because Ainge has surprised us before.

Video scouting report of McDaniels from Draft Express:

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