Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 players that improved their value – Jaden McDaniels
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Jaden McDaniels with the 28th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. McDaniels was not expected to be a contributor this year. He was fundamentally raw during his time at Washington and was poor defensively.
This year, however, McDaniels has blossomed into an ideal role player, playing high-level on-ball defense, shooting above-average from the 3-point line, and finding a way to complement (and bridge the gap between) the high-energy/usage guards and Karl-Anthony Towns on a roster that desperately needs two-way, 3-and-D players.
Ryan Saunders and co. didn’t even play McDaniels at the beginning of the season. The first game he had where he earned more than 20 minutes was January 20th (13th games of the season). McDaniels had 13 points, eight rebounds, and three points in that game, with a plus-minus of +19 (one-point loss).
Since that game, there has only been four/five games where McDaniels has received less than 15 minutes, and he is averaging 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists on 51/42/80 splits when he receives more than 30 minutes per game.
McDaniels is a legitimate positive NBA player as a rookie, which is incredibly impressive given where he was selected. This coming year is going to be a test, however, as the Timberwolves are going to have, as stated, playoff expectations.