McDaniels looks to break through rookie wall
K.J. McDaniels busted out of the gates in his first 19 games with the 76ers. But as of late, things haven't been so easy for the rookie.
After stringing together five consecutive double-digit scoring efforts, the 6-foot-6, 200-pounderhas only scored in double figures once in his last four games. The shooting guard tallied six points twice and was held scoreless in the other game. He's shooting just 25 percent in the four games, including going 1-for-14 on three-pointers.
McDaniels did have to deal with a sprained left ankle. Yet, he's not using it as an excuse for his performance.
"I think I'm probably going through my rookie hump right now," he said of hitting the rookie wall. "But it's part of the NBA my first year. So I just have to find a way to get around it, keep moving and keep working."
The former Clemson standout said the problem has mostly been heavy legs.
The Sixers training staff has "been doing a great job of recovery and getting us recovered," he said. "So I have to take advantage of the treatment, and I'll just get my legs back to where they were."
But in the meantime, the 21-year-old high-flying shot-blocker and dunker, is determined to contribute by doing the little things.
McDaniels said that will require making better decisions. He'll need to find a way to attack the basket when his shots are not falling.
The other things he's focused on is grabbing offensive rebounds and defending for the team.
"Rob [Covington] has been coming in and doing a phenomenal job shooting the ball," he said of Covington who has hit at least two three-pointers in each of his past eight games. "I have to find a way to get on the floor with him. He can do the shooting and I can do the rebounding the extra things.
McDaniels, who had also been a reliable three-pointer, got give up shooting the long range shot.
But his game is more than just shooting threes.
"I'm more of an inside guard that can attack the goal," said McDaniels, who averages 9.5 points and 1.57 blocks "So I have to just start finding a way to make plays that way."
Follow and contact Inquirer 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers or on Instagram on PompeyOnSixers