One of the most exciting times during the NBA offseason is the announcement of the major awards and accolades from the previous regular season. For the teams that failed to make the playoffs or were eliminated early in the postseason, it is something for fans to look forward to while the playoffs continue.
Of course, the major awards like MVP and Defensive Player of the Year were revealed last week. On Tuesday, news broke of the All-Defensive team members, an announcement that Minnesota Timberwolves fans had been looking forward to for quite some time.
On one hand, there was an outside chance Anthony Edwards would receive some recognition after his hard-nosed efforts on defense this year. But the true anticipation for Wolves fans was for Jaden McDaniels, who had been unquestionably one of the best defenders in the NBA this past season. That made it all the more disappointing when J-Mac was left off both the first and second-teams for All-Defense.
Jaden McDaniels’ snub proved that voters do not pay attention to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Shams Charania officially announced the 2022-23 All-Defensive team members on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. Jaren Jackson Jr., Brook Lopez, Alex Caruso, Evan Mobley and Jrue Holiday comprised the first team, while Bam Adebayo, OG Anunoby, Dillon Brooks, Draymond Green and Derrick White rounded out the second team.
The Timberwolves’ defensive stud unfortunately did not make the cut. With the way All-Defense voting works, only four players that are officially listed as forwards are able to make an All-Defense team. With Jackson Jr., Mobley, Green and Anunoby receiving the most votes among forwards, that left Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaden McDaniels as the next highest vote getters.
Clearly, the NBA’s voting system is flawed and there is an argument to be made that abolishing positions would help players like McDaniels get their recognition. But these voting results revealed an even greater problem concerning season awards: the voters clearly did not watch enough of Jaden McDaniels.
There is always room for debate, but it is hard to argue there were many players more deserving of an All-Defense selection this season than McDaniels. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Timberwolves’ opponents turned the ball over on 14.7% of possessions when Jaden was the primary defender. His presence on the defensive end was a game-changer for Minnesota all season.
Among NBA media members, a player’s reputation or perceived impact can sometimes carry more weight than their actual impact due to voters not being able to watch enough games. Unfortunately, it appears that was the case here with Jaden McDaniels. If he continues producing at the level he did in 2022-23, his talent will become impossible to deny soon enough.