McDaniels shows Sixers what they're missing
Following Wednesday's 118-104 setback to the Houston Rockets, 76ers center Nerlens Noel said that he misses K.J. McDaniels.
"Yeah, that's my dude," Noel said of the Rockets reserve shooting guard. "That's my dude."
The Sixers front office probably misses McDaniels, too. If not, they should.
The team shipped him to Houston in exchange for Isaiah Canaan and a second-rounder. But on Wednesday the 6-foot-6, 205-pound McDaniels showed the Sixers regarded him a second-round steal in the 2014 draft. They probably still would feel that way had he accepted their team-friendly multi-year non-guaranteed deal.
McDaniels, however, gambled on himself by taking a one-year deal in October, 2015. Several months later, he was shipped to Houston.
"I was fired up just to be back in Philly, where it all started at," McDaniels said of his first game at Wells Fargo Center since the trade. "Coach [J.B. Bickerstaff] gave me an opportunity to go out there. And I just had to fulfill it, and play my hardest and do what I needed to do on the defensive end."
He finished with a season-high 12 points while playing season-high 17 minutes, 12 seconds. His highlights were an alley-oop dunk and a putback dunk that both came in the second quarter. He went 3-for-4 from the field and made all six of his foul shots.
McDaniels came into the game averaging just 1.5 points and 3.9 minutes in 20 appearances.
The former Clemson standout also received cheers from the Sixers' crowd.
"I applaud them for that," McDaniels said. "I appreciate the fans. I still love the fans here.
"It's still good to come back and hear that they were happy that I was back. So it was good."
Follow and contact 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter @PompeyOnSixes and on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers