Marquis Daniels: Good Vibrations

"….when I come in, I try to be a positive vibe."

With the dreadlocks, he’s got that laid back, island look going on. His soft voice reinforces the laid back image. His outlook, demeanor and even verbology slants that way.

Who Marquis Daniels Isn’t
 
It was second or third game of the season. I don’t really remember which. Marquis Daniels was open at the top for the three point shot.

He clanged it and the guy in front of me loudly said, "Bleepin Marquis Daniels! I hate him already!"

To know Marquis Daniels is to know that three point shooting isn’t why he is in the NBA. A career .238 three point shooter, he wouldn’t be here if it was his raison d’etre. Maybe he shouldn’t be taking them at all with a percentage like that. Even Josh Smith, who shouldn’t shoot threes either, hits a better rate than that.

In a recent game, Marquis was scoreless. Paul Pierce was about to line up a three pointer when he saw Marquis open in the left corner. He dropped it down to Marquis who took the ball to the hoop for his first points of the game. How important was that to Marquis? Apparently, not important at all. The following is the phrase of the ultimate, confident, ego-less role player.

If I need to score, I’ll score. I’m not really worried about that.

I’m just going out there doing whatever needs to be done. Just taking advantage of every situation trying to make sure guys get their proper rest when I get in the game and they come out and hopefully the team don’t miss a beat. That’s just my main focus right now. Just trying to keep things going.

When your unit comes in it has been holding or extending the lead.

Yeah, that’s our main goal. We want to be better than any other unit when we get out there on the floor. Our starters may not have it going there tonight but we have to make sure we (the subs) have it going every night regardless of the situation. That’s one of our key focuses. Go out there and play hard every night.

Whether it’s Paul or Ray, just give them a little break here and there. So that when they get back in they can be fresh and keep things going.

But I didn’t really know what Marquis’ game was, except for brief encounters against whatever team he was on when the Celtics played them. He has a little mid range game, but mostly takes it to the hoop with great effect (.619 in close shots). He seemed to play decent defense.

Energy guy?
A soft spoken individual whenever I’ve talked with him, it is even hard to make out what he is saying on the recorder when I play it later. Speak up young man. Watching him on the court, one thing you’ll see is that there is no wasted energy. He anticipates well, and knows where to be at both ends of the court.

Who Marquis Daniels Is
I decided to break down a game and just watch Daniels’ every move. Even on the court, there is little wasted energy. But I learned to appreciate the basketball player who left a million or two on the table to play for the Boston Celtics.

One of the team needs going into this season was a player or two to do the dirty work and the unglamorous stuff. Stuff like James Posey did. What young studs like Bill Walker and J.R Giddens are learning is that the primary scorer positions on this team are all filled. Role players needed.

With Daniels, the Celtics found such a player. With the mindset they were seeking and the game to help fill in at multiple positions, Daniels knows how to play. He knows where to go and what to do on both ends of the floor.

Here is a day in the life of Marquis Daniels, Celtic role player.

From the recent Timberwolves game call it the ABCs of Marquis…

A) Marquis had the ball inside the upper left arc area. Being on the weakside, he saw an opening to the hoop and drove past Corey Brewer for a quick, uncontested, left handed running lay up.

B) A few plays later, he gets out on the break, receives the ball above the foul line and drives the middle between two defenders who couldn’t quite set up for a lay–up in traffic.

C) Later, he deflects a pass that goes to teammate Rasheed Wallace. I don’t know who got the steal but they should have split it. It turns into another fastbreak.

D) Marquis drives the middle, draws the defensive attention and splits the defenders with a great pass underneath to the right to Shelden Williams moving in for a lay up behind the defenders.

E) Later Marquis drives the middle again, drawing three defenders and kicks it back out to a wide open Rasheed Wallace at the top for a three point shot.

F) Marquis gets the ball at the top and picks his man and gets fouled by center Ryan Hollins trying to pick him up and divert him from heading inside where Marquis is dangerous.

G) Al Jefferson has the ball on the right side elbow, and is guarded by Perkins. Marquis is stationed slightly above the foul line protecting the middle while watching his man Cory Brewer who is not a threat to shoot above the top of the key. Jefferson thinks he can take Perkins with a shake and bake move heading toward the hoop.

As he moves on Perkins, Daniels comes over and Eddie House comes from under the hoop. They make a perfect Jefferson sandwich around each side Perkins. Kendrick makes the block and gets the ball to start a fast break.

H) Ryan Gomes comes in and Marquis now switches to him. Gomes makes cuts through the middle and Daniels immediately puts his body on him and moves with him every time he cuts through. On a post up to the left of the key, he body locks Gomes off a spot. Gomes now covered, the pass goes elsewhere.

I) 4th quarter, Daniels and House are in again and Daniels is playing point. Marquis has the ball at the top and drives the middle where he is dangerous, drawing multiple defenders and sees Shelden Williams now open on the left side. He immediately hits him with the pass. Short Jumper. Two points.

J) Daniels, playing a sort of zone, stays near the paint and picks off a Pavlovic pass as Sasha drives the middle and takes it the length of the court. Marquis takes in against the taller Pecherov where he misses but gets fouled.

What Marquis is…is a floor spreader with good anticipation. Much of the time he plays the weakside (away from the ball) of the court on both sides of floor. But on defense, he knows who he can cheat off, to help inside more, and anticipates passing lanes pretty well.

He knows how to be just physical enough to cause the offensive player difficulty in the middle, but not get the foul. His game is not high energy. It is just enough energy.

The undrafted, versatile swingman plays the point for the Celtics in an ‘interchangeable point guard’ offense with Eddie House. He did the same with the Dallas Mavericks, before going to Indiana and playing mostly shooting guard, and small forward, with just a tad of power forward in one of Pacer’s coach Jim O’Brien’s small ball line ups. He mainly plays shooting guard and small forward and does both well.

With the Celtics, he knows he is not needed to score right now and he is absolutely okay with that. He just wants to play a part in getting a NBA championship.

As Jeff Clark said in a recent article, Marquis is like the utility infielder that every baseball team needs. He is all that and more for the Celtics. The only number that matters is a letter….a W… at the end of the game. His personal numbers don’t really reflect his contributions.

I’m out here, like I said to help guys get better. If I could take a load off them by giving Paul a break on the defensive end then…I mean Ray’s a type of guy… if he don’t have to guard the better player out there, that’s gotta help him a lot at the offensive end. But it’s the same with Ray, I’m just out there to help.

Do they ever want you to score more?

I just take what the defense gives me. There’s sometimes…it’s not gonna be….every night it’s not going to be that way. So you have to go out there and play basketball, and just try to be a factor. Like I say, I try to be positive whenever I get in the game and when I come in, I try to be a positive vibe for whatever the situation may be, just make sure my group goes out there and continues.

Offensively and defensively we have a lot of great talent and things to look forward to if we keep everything together.

Marquis is one of the guys keeping it together. Keeping it positive and bringing the good vibrations. He’s not going to give you the excitations... but he’ll give you solid basketball.

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