Two days out from the 2022 NBA Draft, Australian guard Dyson Daniels sharp rise up the draft board has continued, with his positional versatility and defensive prowess impressing a number of teams across workouts in recent weeks.
In combination with a strong season with the G League Ignite, Daniels has rocketed from a middle of the first round proposition, to now be widely viewed as an expected top-10 selection, with ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony recently suggesting his performance at the combine had generated some top-five buzz.
By his own admission, ignoring the pre-draft media circus is a challenge, though Daniels has embraced the opportunity to work out with NBA franchises.
"I just keep playing my game. I've worked on my game, I've worked on my shooting, I've worked on my ball handling, so it's just showing I can do a little bit of everything," Daniels told reporters at his media availability on Wednesday morning.
While the workouts provide prospects with a limited timeslot to showcase their skillset, the Bendigo product has continued to lean on his defence, with a ruthless attitude that has been at the forefront of his path to the doorstep of the world's greatest basketball league.
"My main strength is on the defensive end, and I come into these workouts with the mindset that I'm going to kill everybody and play my own game. Wherever I go I'm going to bring the same mentality.
"I'm a competitor. I go out there every game trying to win. I'm all about team first and I think it goes a long way. I'm not the guy who is going to go out there and put up a huge stat line but I'm going to compete on both ends of the floor, show a bit of everything I can do. I want to be on the floor with teammates who will play that way and I think I've shown a lot of what I can do in this process and a lot of different roles that I can fit into."
Givony's latest mock draft lands Daniels alongside superstar guard Damian Lillard in Portland with the seventh overall pick, but regardless of where he falls, the 19-year-old believes he has the size, ability, and competitiveness to compete straight away.
"There are so many roles I can play in a team. My best NBA ready skill is my defence and being able to step on the floor and guard the best player, use my size, my lateral quickness to be able to cause trouble for players. I can be the primary playmaker or secondary playmaker, off ball guy, I feel like I can definitely step on the floor and impact straight away.
"It's a matter of getting in where I fit in. Whatever a team needs, whether it be a point guard or a backup, playing off the ball, I feel like there is no real weakness where you can say 'put him here and he won't be as good'. I have a very balanced game that I can go into different roles. With Ignite I found myself starting at the one and then I found myself going to the two or three a little more and then even the four sometimes. I feel like I have that versatility."
While most of the questions thrown in his direction surrounded his physical traits, mentality on the floor and ability to fit in with different rosters, the raw excitement of achieving a lifelong goal shone through, with Daniels now just 48 hours away officially becoming an NBA player.
"Playing in the NBA. It's the highest level. I'm just looking forward to getting out there and competing against the best players in the world. There's going to be a lot of different players, great shooters, great athletes and I'm just looking forward to going out there and competing.
"That's what I love doing. I love the game, it's a competitive fun game. I'm sure it's going to be a big step up, the pace is going to be up and down, big crowds, I'm just looking forward to everything about the NBA game."
After a short stint in Australia during February and March, Daniels is now in New York City alongside his family, with the draft to be held at Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on Friday morning.
"It is very exciting for me. This process, even just having my whole family together which we haven't had for two or three years.
"My family has been in my corner ever since I was born. It's just been good to have them and talk to them about my journey. Them being in Australia and me over here, they don't really see everything that goes on so just being able to talk to them and be here now and reflect on everything, it's just good to have them in my corner."
It has certainly been a long journey from Bendigo to Barclays Centre, though if the rise of the last 12 months is any indication, you get the sense it's just the beginning.
"For me, it was my dream to play in the NBA and I'm right there on the doorstep now so I'm taking it all in. I'm not too nervous now but I'm sure on the night I will be. It's a great atmosphere here in New York so I'm just enjoying the time with family and friends."
Watch the NBA Draft live on ESPN on Friday morning - Coverage begins at 9:30am (AEST).