3 Timberwolves who are underperforming, 3 exceeding expectations at the midseason break

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Underperforming: Jaden McDaniels

Perhaps not mentioned enough is Jaden McDaniels' poor follow-up season to a breakout campaign in 2022-23. To be fair, the 23-year-old forward missed his fair share of action to begin the season.

The fourth-year wing missed the beginning of the season due to an ailing calf. His return to action was short-lived. After appearing in 11 contests, McDaniels injured his ankle, forcing him out of the lineup for an additional two weeks.

Since his early string of injuries, McDaniels has been healthy, but his play has tailed off. Not too long ago, the rising star agreed to a massive contract extension worth $136 million over five seasons.

The extension was given in part to his massive potential, efficient offense, and All-NBA level defense. Last season, while appearing in 79 games, McDaniels averaged 12.1 points, 0.9 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. He managed to shoot career-highs, 51.7 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc.

This season, in 45 appearances, McDaniels is averaging just 10.7 points while shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from three. He's seen a decline in offensive production, but his defense remains elite.

McDaniels is a deterrent on the defensive end of the floor. Opponents are shooting 3.6 percent worse when he's the primary defender. When it comes to attempts with six feet, McDaniels is stifling. His opponents are shooting 10.1 percentage points from the paint.

We get it, he's a monster on defense, but is a so-so offensive contributor worth $27 million per season? That question remains unanswered. Still, time is ticking for McDaniels to display increased production on offense. Whether it be shooting or playmaking, some type of improvement must come to fruition.