Is Troy Daniels the Grizzlies’ playoff X-factor?

Troy Daniels has been the most pleasant surprise for the Grizzlies, thus far. The fourth-year sharpshooter could be a difference-maker in the spring.

When the Grizzlies acquired Troy Daniels, his role was clearly obvious: let it fly. Coming into the season, Daniels was a 43-percent 3-point shooter. Last year alone, he shot a sizzling 48.4 percent from downtown.

While some argue that Chandler Parsons is the Grizzlies’ biggest x-factor, Daniels can change the outcome of an entire game with his shooting. Every playoff contender has a role player who can get hot.

Troy Daniels is that guy for the Grizzlies.

Horrid start

At the beginning of the season, Daniels started off cold. He missed his first 11 3-point attempts. That doesn’t include his preseason struggles. Because of his rough start, many Grizzlies fans wished for him to be released to make room for training camp darlings Troy Williams (who made the roster) and DJ Stephens (who was cut).

Glad that didn’t happen, right? Once he found his shot, Daniels impacted the team significantly.

Shooting his shot

After hitting his first 3-pointer against Philadelphia, his confidence significantly rose. As injuries plagued the Grizzlies, Daniels was given a chance to shoot his shot – literally.

In the first game of the “Nasty Nine” era, he connected on four of his eight long-range attempts. Two games later, he scored a career-high 31 points and drained six of his 12 three pointers. On that night, Troy Daniels became a fan favorite in Memphis.

Daniels continued to heat up, scoring 29 points on 7-for-11 from downtown against New Orleans. He sustained his scoring binge through December, averaging 13.5 points on 44.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Daniels ended the month by hurting the Oklahoma City Thunder’s feelings (like, he actually did). He erupted in the fourth quarter, draining six triples.

Because of that breakout month, Daniels has become key contributor for the Grizzlies and a common fixture in their crunch-time lineup, as seen in Golden State and Houston.

As of January 13th, the Grizzlies are a +70 with Daniels on the court as opposed to a -78 with him on the bench. Since November 30th, Daniels is sixth in the league in made three’s (70) and tied for third in 3-point percentage (44.3 percent), not including his 0-for-5 outing against the Bulls.

What makes Troy Daniels the X-factor?

Many championship teams have a microwave scorer. Cleveland has J.R. Smith. San Antonio still has Manu Ginobili, arguably the greatest sixth man of all-time. Though they haven’t won a title, the Clippers have Jamal Crawford, one of the best scorers off the bench.

For the Grizzlies to reach any sort of championship aspirations, Troy Daniels has to be that guy.

In today’s era of basketball, role players are capable of changing the outcome of a game solely based on their 3-point shooting. Daniels has proven that he fits the bill.

He has led the Grizzlies to victory over winnable games against the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. In addition, his shooting was a major key in road victories over the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.

While most players of Daniels’ skill-set are incredibly streaky, Daniels consistency is an important key for a deep playoff run.

Marc Gasol and Mike Conley will get their points. A healthy Chandler Parsons is capable of 16-20 points a game. Zach Randolph can still score, but with age comes fatigue, especially down the stretch.

Memphis’ core guys need someone to help unload the scoring pressure. Troy Daniels has the tools to do just that.

He proved that he could help win playoff games with the Rockets. Hopefully, that translates to the Beale Street Blue.

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