The Ringer NBA Show: 'Look Out' For Jaden McDaniels
Since early January, Timberwolves rookie Jaden McDaniels has begun to turn heads in NBA media circles with his raw athleticism and shot-blocking ability. The 20-year-old forward has especially proven to be an asset on the defensive end of the floor for Minnesota, providing highlight-reel blocks on a nightly basis.
In assessing the Timberwolves following this week's coaching change, The Ringer's NBA Show had high praise for the rookie forward.
"This is a name to remember, I think most people haven’t heard of this guy… His name is Jaden McDaniels, he was a late first-round pick from Washington," said Ringer staff writer Jonathan Tjarks on the podcast. "He’s really come on since the start of the new year. He is the guy that I think can make all of this work [for the Timberwolves]. He’s 6-foot-10, he’s extremely athletic, and he blocks shots at a ridiculous rate for a perimeter player.
"I watch this guy and think ‘This is the next Jonathan Isaac,’" Tjarks compared McDaniels to the Orlando Magic big man. "I think he has that kind of potential at the four spot to really cover a lot of mistakes. He can switch on to anybody. I looked it up, he has the highest block rate in the league for non-centers out of anybody as a rookie, and he can knock down spot-up threes. That is all you need."
While there are some gray areas in determining positions in the modern game, McDaniels does indeed have a higher block percentage than bigs such as Joel Embiid and Bam Adebayo, per stats.nba.com. Overall, McDaniels is tied with Detroit's Isaiah Stewart for the rookie lead in blocks.
What's more, it is statistically proven that the Wolves are a better team with McDaniels on the floor this season. According to Basketball Reference, the Wolves are +11.5 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents with McDaniels on the court versus when he's on the bench. The next highest differential is Karl-Anthony Towns at +9.9 points per 100 possessions.
"I’m putting Jaden McDaniels as a guy to really look out for," said Tjarks on the podcast.
"He is literally The Eraser. He erases shots consistently."
Listen to the complete podcast below, via spotify.