Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels dominates in Crawford’s Crawsover Pro-Am League

Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

The NBA Summer League gives a chance for professional players to improve their game and an opportunity for young players on the rise to play a healthy amount of minutes while adjusting to the NBA format. One such player, Minnesota Timberwolves SF Jaden McDaniels is entering just his third season with the team. But there is more than just the summer league competition to hone and sharpen players’ skills. One such annual event is former NBA veteran Jamal Crawford’s Crawsover Pro-Am competition.

And that is where small forward, Jaden McDaniels, claimed the NBA spotlight.

The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired point guard Ricky Rubio and the rights to the Lakers’ 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 draft, F Jaden McDaniels, from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Timberwolves’ F James Johnson, the rights to the Timberwolves’ 17th overall pick in the first round of that draft, Aleksej Pokuševski, and the Minnesota Timberwolves 2024 second-round pick.

McDaniels was a highly regarded prospect in the NBA Draft.

So far, McDaniels is slowly growing into a reliable NBA starter. Like all rookies, McDaniels struggled with growing pains in his first year of the NBA. However, from dealing with nagging injuries to his inconsistent offensive play, one area McDaniels is thriving in is his defensive presence.

Defensive specialist

The 6-foot-9 Timberwolves’ small forward has already become a threat on the defensive end of the floor. McDaniels can guard multiple positions with his length and basketball IQ. He has the ability to make incredible plays on defense, as seen in the Tweet below.

However, one glaring flaw the second-year forward has been guilty of defensively is racking up bad fouls. The good thing about it is that McDaniels is young and should improve with maturity. In time, he will become more disciplined not to reach in, grab for the ball or become aggressive when playing smaller opponents.

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Work in process

Offensively, McDaniels hasn’t lived up to his potential of becoming a playmaker, as he is averaging just 9.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 25.9 minutes per game this season. As a result, McDaniels found himself on the bench, which he has thrived in by improving his performance overall.

It felt like a step back for McDaniels, who shot 36 percent from beyond the arc in his rookie season. However, the Timberwolves have no interest in moving on from the third year forward. Instead, Minnesota is invested in McDaniels growing into a prominent role player.

The 21-year-old blessed the Crawsover Pro-Am league summer event by competing in front of his hometown of Seattle, Washington. His debut occurred on Saturday, July 30, 2022, as he dropped a game-high 52 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.

McDaniels squared off against two of the 2022 NBA Draft’s best: The number one overall pick Paolo Banchero and the number two overall pick Chet Holmgren, a pair who combined for an impressive 84-piece to record the win over McDaniels and his crew.

Retired NBA icon Jamal Crawford has done a fantastic job putting together a Pro-Am Basketball league for basketball fans to enjoy, now streaming live on the NBA APP.

The performance McDaniels showcased in the Craw League is why the Timberwolves drafted him in the first place. He is a next-level talent who can dominate in the right situation. However, the Wolves currently play him as a 3-and-D type player; after his performance Saturday, that may change going forward.

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