Minnesota Timberwolves select Jaden McDaniels at No. 28 in NBA Draft

Jaden McDaniels of the Washington Huskies was the Wolves' No. 28 pick in the NBA Draft. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
Jaden McDaniels of the Washington Huskies was the Wolves' No. 28 pick in the NBA Draft. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Timberwolves selected a high-upside stretch-four at No. 28 in the 2020 NBA Draft in Washington’s Jaden McDaniels.

The Minnesota Timberwolves started the night with two first round picks and a second-rounder. They finished with three first-round selections and Ricky Rubio.

Shortly after selecting Anthony Edwards at No. 1, news broke that the Wolves would be shipping the No. 17 pick to Oklahoma City to acquire pick Nos. 25 and 28, plus former Timberwolf Ricky Rubio.

Then, the Wolves traded No. 25 and No. 33, Minnesota’s only second-round pick in the draft, to New York for the chance to take Argentinan guard Leandro Balmaro.

Minnesota Timberwolves select Jaden McDaniels at No. 28 in NBA Draft

The Wolves hung onto No. 28 and took Washington’s Jaden McDaniels, a bouncy, high-ceiling big man best-suited to play power forward in the NBA.

McDaniels is one of the biggest boom-or-bust prospects in the draft. He was a top high-school recruit who struggled a bit in the Pac-12, shooting only 40.5 percent from the field and struggled with turnover issues.

But the ceiling for McDaniels is sky-high. Standing 6-foot-9 with a near-7-foot wingspan and impressive athleticism, he’s is a perfect fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns.

While McDaniels only shot 33.9 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman, his mechanics are smooth and he has solid touch. The Wolves are also undoubtedly intrigued by his ability as a playmaker and ball-handler in the pick-and-roll.

There’s a world in which McDaniels’ upside is something like a young Rashard Lewis with even better defensive versatility — a dream pairing in the frontcourt with Towns.

In terms of fit on the Wolves’ current roster, McDaniels may have an opportunity to earn minutes relatively quickly, but he certainly shouldn’t be considered the answer at the 4 in 2021.

While James Johnson will almost certainly be the player included in the Rubio trade, head coach Ryan Saunders is going to play Jake Layman at the 4 some, and Juancho Hernangomez will likely be back in restricted free agency. And don’t forget about Jarred Vanderbilt, who was acquired in the deadline deal back in February and has similar defensive upside to McDaniel but an NBA-ready body.

Don’t rule out the possibility of Naz Reid getting minutes next to Towns next year, either, although Saunders seemed hesitant to do that much last season.

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McDaniels is the perfect pick at No. 28 for a team that’s fairly set on the wing and at point guard: a swing at a potential ideal fit in the position of greatest need.