Former Timberwolves player praises Jaden McDaniels’ talent

Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

At this point, many are aware of the massive amount of talent in the locker room for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Heading into the 2023-24 season, they will boast one of the most star-studded starting lineups in the league.

Basketball fans everywhere recognize the versatile two-way impact of Anthony Edwards. His play at the World Cup only further cemented his status as one of the top young talents in the NBA. And though they can be underrated, everyone is aware of what Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert bring to the table.

But one of the players that remains underrated in Minnesota is Jaden McDaniels. After flying under the radar for most of his first two professional seasons, McDaniels enjoyed a breakout third season last year. Still, many are not fully aware of the impact he brings to the court for the Timberwolves.

Jaden McDaniels remains criminally underrated

Besides Wolves fans, there is one group of people that universally recognizes Jaden McDaniels’ talent: his current and former teammates. Those who have seen what he can do up close and personal know exactly the type of player he is.

One former teammate recently spoke on J-Mac and his experience playing with him in Minnesota: Jarred Vanderbilt. Vando appeared on the newest episode of the Run Your Race podcast with NBA free agent Theo Pinson.

In the podcast, Vanderbilt and Pinson discuss various aspects of Vando’s basketball career. When talking about Jaden McDaniels, they both agreed that he is a very underrated player. Vanderbilt called McDaniels “the truth” and Pinson described him as “slept on.”

But perhaps the most interesting way the two articulated McDaniels’ greatness was by describing what he is capable of outside of the role he is currently in with the Timberwolves. “Obviously when they plugged him in, they wanted him to be the defender,” said Vanderbilt. “Which he can be, he’s elite. But he’s got more to his game.”

Vando believes McDaniels could be even greater on another team

Pinson and Vanderbilt went on to compare Jaden McDaniels to Brooklyn Nets guard Mikal Bridges. Many remember seeing Bridges’ game open up and reach a new level when he was traded from the Phoenix Suns to Brooklyn at the 2023 trade deadline. When Bridges was put in a role to be more heavily featured in the offense, he became arguably the team’s best player.

Vanderbilt believes that McDaniels would be able to get the same kind of results if he were ever to end up on a new team. “He was the defender for the team, but he can go to a different team and emerge and go crazy,” said Vanderbilt. “He’s a star.”

Hopefully, Timberwolves fans will never have to know what it is like to see Jaden McDaniels on a team outside Minnesota. He is still tapping in to his immense potential, and insight from former teammates like Jarred Vanderbilt should only serve to increase the excitement around him for this coming season.