“I think I’m the best defender in the NBA“, He said Jaden McDanielsvia Stadium, a program presented by the renowned journalist Shams Charania. And the Washington native forward may not be wrong. A player who begins to position himself as one of the best ‘stoppers’ of the entire competition: “He is a great defender. I am surprised by how he attacks the ball and how he uses his long hands. He is tough and very good,” said Luka Doncic. And it is that in one of the last games between Dallas and Minnesota, the forward defended Luka for 7:49 minutes, in that time he scored 4 points, shooting 1/9 in TC and forcing three turnovers from the Slovenian.
McDaniels, to whom the equivalence between difficulty of the rival with whom it is matched and the defense on the ball holdermake him one of the best perimeter defenses in the NBA.
for something the The Minnesota Timberwolvesbeing similar profiles, they opted for him before the now Los Angeles Lakers player, Jarred Vanderbilt. Similar defensive conditions, but superior offensive potential. The mythical 3&D tend more to the perimeter and get closer to the ‘guard’, the majority are concentrated in the mythical shooting guard and forward positions, and more and more frequently we find that player who occupies the role of open four. At 206 cm tall, and sharing many minutes on the track with Gobert, Naz Reid, Taurean Prince and now Karl Anthony Townsit is very common to see McDaniels occupying positions farther from the hoop.
Vanderbilt – McDaniels
Last year, Vanderbilt excelled as a roving libero in the Timberwolves’ aggressive schemewhere he was entrusted clean up the problems in the bottom line y wreak havoc on the passing lane. This year, McDaniels has been tasked with captain the defenseoften starting it following the most prolific perimeter player on the opposing team (a manual stopper). This allows Jaden to take advantage of his most enticing physical feature: the length.
Arranged with a wingspan of nearly seven feet, McDaniels’ man-to-man defense is stifling. When fully extended, it engulfs the handler, making them believe there is nowhere to exit. And even if it somehow gets bogged down in a blockage, its length allows it to quickly recover and reassemble its attacker to continue the suffocation.
This graph of BBall Index it is very interesting. Between the defenders at ‘point of attack’, Jaden is elite in the ‘On-Ball’ defense. Better than Lu Dort, Jrue Holiday, Dillon Brooks…
He is a true white glove thief, the forward is averaging a steal and block per game. In addition, the young forward has made his versatility available to the team, which is taking advantage of his dynamism, speed y rhythm on the court, after robbery. He is a player who attacks the offensive rebound very well as well (1.2).
If the data provided at the beginning of the article about the defensive performance against Doncic is interesting, pay attention to the next one. On March 27, before the Sacramento Kingsagainst the best player of the season in the ‘clutch’, McDaniels signed a masterful last quarter: De’Aaron Fox reached the final period with a 9-13 shooting from the field and finished the game with a 10-20 (1-7 in TC in the last quarter). Sublime.
And against Monty Williams’ Phoenix Suns during the early morning of March 30, Jaden dried up a certain Kevin Durant: 16 points (5-18 in TC). One of the things that KD does best is reach his comfort spaces to score in the middle distance. However, Jaden McDaniels made it very difficult for him, showing why he is one of the best in the NBA back. Sizealso leg speed, wingspan y physical ability. Very disciplined and intelligent.
He may not be the one who scores the most points, nor the most accurate from the triple or who generates the most games, but Minnesota cannot be understood without Jaden McDaniels. The 22-year-old forward is the glue that every team needs to be successful, a role that does not always come with general recognition, but without which nothing would make sense. It has been confirmed as a more than reliable third-fourth swordemerging as a tertiary scorer when well Anthony Edwards o Karl Anthony Towns they don’t have the day.
More specifically, Chris Finchhead coach of the Timberwolves, has highlighted on more than one occasion McDaniels’ ability to cut to basket, move without the ball and contribute to adding greater fluidity in attack: “Our offense is based a lot on cutting and several of the boys are not very predisposed to it because they control the ball much more. He is so good at cutting that he favors that movement of the ball when it reaches those areas.. He will be the main beneficiary of a good offense, of good circulation.”
Blast from the perimeter
In effect, the Timberwolves are profiting from these types of situations: are among the best teams in the NBA in volume, points per possession, total points and shooting percentage after cut to the basket. For his part, 49% of McDaniels’ basket attempts arrive in the restricted zonecon a hit of 75.5%. His averages in this start of the course rise to 12.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal in 30.7 minutes per game.
The forward is already a star in defense, and it is now when he is beginning to develop in attack. Watch out for MIP next year. Your match against Atlanta Hawks: 25 points, six rebounds and four assists.
On the other hand, the proliferation of the triple in the NBA and the game of spaces increases the importance that franchises give to foreign pitching. Jaden McDaniels is having his best season since triple with a percentage of 38.8% with 3.4 attempts. The forward is being a real threat from the perimeter, improving notably from the previous season (31.7%).
The Timberwolves’ future looks bright, more if Jaden McDaniels continues to take steps forward in his development as a top-tier scorer, manager and defender. As long as those from Minneapolis continue to compete in the ‘regular season’, the forward will continue to have great opportunities to progress in this line, something vital for next season.