Word is that the Milwaukee Bucks have signed/will be signing Marquis Daniels after bringing him and a few guys that had vaguely similar qualities to him in for a workout this past week.
— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) September 20, 2012
Details haven’t been revealed yet, but the report above has at least part of the deal guaranteed. My suspicion is that it’s a one-year deal – and Gery Woelfel says as much – but I’ve been wrong before.
I’m thrilled because through Daniels, I’ve learned quite a bit about when to back down in an argument. And given that I do this whole writing thing now, that’s kind of a big deal.
In 2005 I was playing a friend in NBA Live 2004. 2Ksports hadn’t conquered the NBA market just yet and shootouts with Toni Kukoc’s Milwaukee Bucks and Reggie Miller’s Indiana Pacers kept my friends and I plenty busy. I’d argue those were two of the best players in that particular game, but I don’t want to digress.
If you remember, the Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash led Mavericks were flourishing as a run and gun team with great depth. They landed Josh Howard with the final pick in the first round in the 2003 draft and Daniels in the second round. Both were athletic and had a nastiness that complemented Dallas’ offensive minded starters.
I was digging the Mavs and I was really digging Howard and Daniels. But I didn’t want to be like everyone else who was impressed with Howard and assuming big things were in his future. I wanted to be different, because I’m kind of an idiot like that. So I latched on to Daniels. He had a good second season. He showed progress again in his third season, averaging better than 10 points and a few more minutes in a few more starts.
This is when I learned how to argue. I was promoting Daniels as a serious sleeper in the coming year and my friends wrote me off immediately. I said he was going to be pretty serious and they all told me how average he was. Rather than admit they were probable right, I immediately proclaimed him a future MVP candidate.
That’s how I thought arguments worked. Never would I back down, I had to find the guy I liked and pump up his talents to some unreasonable level so that if it worked out, I’d look like a genius. There was no logic or reason to what I was saying. He was an okay player and I was right to peg him as interesting, but my Daniels support had forced me to jump out of a plane without an airbag. As you all know, Daniels never did really turn into that candidate. He’s had some good seasons as a strong reserve, but he’s also been hurt a lot and failed to develop an outside shot.
He’ll immediately move into a role as the Bucks best wing/backcourt defender outside of Luc Mbah a Moute, so while he’s not going to contribute much on offense, he’ll still have a place on a team that’s very offense heavy in the backcourt and on the wings. Even if he’s lost five steps and he is a below average defender now, this is a no lose situation. He’s literally the last guy on the roster at this point. The Bucks, in late September especially, weren’t suddenly going to bring in a player capable of making a big impact on a team’s on court performance.
And don’t worry about Doron Lamb. If he’s good, he’ll find minutes. If he isn’t good yet, he won’t. Don’t let Daniels playing in November get you on the, “SKILES NEVER PLAYS ROOKIES AND I HATE HIM BECAUSE DORON LAMB IS A LEGEND!” kick.
Regardless of how Daniels performs though, we all have a guy like this, right? I know there’s a frequent commenter here at Bucksketball who seems like he would give up a family member if Milwaukee would just sign Anthony Randolph. But we all have someone we kind of liked, then had to jump all in on because we had so much pride that we had to shout down our friends with even more gusto. SURELY WE DO, RIGHT!?
But there are actual reasons to be excited about Daniels beyond my selfish, “This is awesome for my friends and I!” argument.
He’s the kind of end of the bench player that makes the most sense. He’s still talented enough to do damage, but he understands he isn’t talented enough to warrant complaints about pretty much anything. You aren’t going to hear a story four months from now about Daniels starting a mutiny in the Bucks locker room because he was sitting behind Tobias Harris in a must win game. Put aside any thoughts you have based on his absurd jewelry or big ass braids and read this quote:
“I’m a guy I don’t get too high on the highs or too low on the lows.”
Daniels was talking about possibly being forced to retire early due to a spinal injury and his mindset on the whole thing. He worked hard and brought himself back, but if that was it, he was ready to accept it. After Stephen Jackson hit the highest of highs and lowest of lows in his short stint in Milwaukee, having a veteran like Daniels to shape the locker room culture is delightful. NBA seasons are marathons, not sprints and Daniels seems to understand that the same way Kurt Thomas and Jerry Stackhouse did a few years ago.
Thomas and Stackhouse were both great examples of veterans on cheap contracts that brought nothing but positives. Ask someone to name the Bucks biggest acquisational mistakes over the past few years and surely names like Drew Gooden, Jackson and John Salmons will come in response, but you’ll never hear anyone cite Earl Boykins. Or Hakim Warrick. Or even Malik Allen. It’s nothing but upside with these one-year deals. Even when guys with one-year left don’t work out (Chris Douglas-Roberts and Keyon Dooling could arguably come to mind), they can be gotten rid of quickly.
To fill the end of the bench, the Bucks could do about a hundred times worse than Marquis Daniels. He’s capable of playing when he needs to and has been on enough winning teams to know what a guy in his role should do when he isn’t playing. Some people will tell you throwing a rookie on the end of the bench is the only way to go. “Put them there and let them develop in practice,” they say. But I say let someone else do the developing of those who aren’t on rosters by late September.
No, he never did become that MVP candidate I insisted he would be, but the strategy of tossing a savvy veteran who seems to have a reasonable philosophy on basketball and life at the end of the bench is always one worth supporting.