Bad break? Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels self-inflicted broken hand

Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports /

Nobody can accuse the Minnesota Timberwolves of ending their 2022-23 NBA season listlessly, stoically, or any number of adjectives that describes NBA players robbed of passion and emotions. On the contrary, these Minnesota Timberwolves were bursting with emotional and passionate potential, a factor that triggered a fisticuffs face-off between Timberwolves point forward Kyle Anderson and center Rudy Gobert.

But the bigger impact was not the confrontation between teammates Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gobert. The real story that has far greater ramifications is the foolish decision made by a young and frustrated small forward Jaden McDaniels who, after being called for a loose ball foul with 44 seconds left in the first quarter, chose to take out his emotions by cold-cocking a tunnel wall in Target Center.

Why did he do so? It was not for the team. It was not even in the best interest of the player. It came down to emotion, competitiveness, and a desire to do something to release his rage. Of course, the choice to throw a haymaker against the concrete Target Center concrete wall was a poor choice of where to send his fragile fist.

The resulting impact shattered McDaniels hand, who is now reportedly out indefinitely.

Heated confrontations subside to cohesive play. Ultimately, a good night’s sleep introduces a far better perspective in persons who may have been at each other’s throats in a heated debate the previous day.

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Stupid stupid stupid play

But where things go awry is when a vital starter, a candidate to be honored this season by being named to the NBA All-Defense Team, takes himself out of competing in the upcoming NBA Play-In Tournament and a chance to compete in the NBA Playoffs by punching a wall out of frustration. There was no upside to choosing that course of action. The only outcome is the one that occurred, McDaniels broke his hand and will be unable to suit up and compete with his teammates.

This was not a matter of the heat of the moment, the passion of competition, or the frustration of the game. It was basic stupidity and has cost both the player and the team a huge price in terms of sitting out games in which he could have made a huge positive impact.

The Minnesota Timberwolves must now alter their rotations once more. Kyle Anderson will move to and start at the small forward position. With the Timberwolves already missing backup center Naz Reid, the team’s front-court rotation will be pushed hard throughout their postseason play.

Jaden McDaniels may be one of the best defensive players in the NBA today, but he still has some growing up to do.

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