Is small forward Jaden McDaniels on borrowed time right now? We know that the Minnesota Timberwolves absolutely want to optimize their long-term relationship with McDaniels, but they haven’t had the type of performance from him to unlock that elite echelon of NBA paydays just yet.
Still, he has all the makings of an NBA All-Star, or to receive NBA All-Defense Team honors this season. And it could very well be that the team and the player are holding off on signing a new contractual agreement as both sides await the outcome of McDaniels’s fourth NBA season. If this year is anything like the progress shown in his first three seasons, this one could blow your socks off.
But is it possible? After all, McDaniels has snuffed out almost every elite NBA scorer that he has defended so far, with next to no NBA recognition. He did not earn international accolades, despite the fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves flooded the 2023 FIBA World Cup tournament. Closer to home, McDaniels foolishly broke his own hand and eliminated himself from playing in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
McDaniels has a lot to show the NBA in 2023-24
It’s far too easy to watch the proficiency and energy that McDaniels brings to the basketball court and leave with the impression that he is a well-seasoned NBA veteran. But McDaniels has just turned 23 years old. He is entering his fourth NBA season. And while he has dominated on defense for some time, his offense continues to develop as well. In fact, his points per game have doubled in just three seasons.
On his current trajectory, he could be in the ballpark of 16+ points per game this season. That could be even higher if uses the basis of his new potential NBA contract and his absence from last year’s NBA Playoffs as motivation to drive himself even higher this year.