Last month in Toronto, Philadelphia Sixers rookie KJ McDaniels elevated for a massive block against a driving Greivis Vasquez.
The ball went screaming into the crowd, and according to McDaniels, it struck a Raptors fan and gave the poor lady a concussion.
McDaniels has become one of the very few reasons to tune into Sixers games this season.
McDaniels, listed at 6-6, is a wing by trade. Yet thus far he ranks 13th in the league in block percentage…just behind Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard, and Tim Duncan. If his mark holds over the course of the season, McDaniels would be the most prolific shot blocker at his height in NBA history. […] “I used to watch a lot of [Dwyane] Wade and LeBron [James] when they came into the league,” McDaniels said. “I used to watch Michael Jordan a lot, too – the way they were versatile in how they defend multiple positions and use their athleticism to block shots. I just figured since I’m athletic and I can jump and have good instincts, I can go up there and get shots as well.”
That particular skill has translated brilliantly to the NBA level, where McDaniels succeeds the aforementioned Wade and James as one of the most awesome and surprising help-side shot blockers in the league. The jewel of his rejection résumé might just be the play of the season to date: A complete demolition of a Greivis Vasquez runner, rocketed into the stands at such a violent velocity as to cause actual injury.
“I surprised myself,” McDaniels said of the block. “There was a lady who got hit by the ball who got a concussion, I believe.” McDaniels, upon hearing what happened, sent flowers.