The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired Washington power forward Jaden McDaniels with the No. 28 overall selection in the 2020 NBA draft Wednesday after a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder (via Los Angeles Lakers).
Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report
Player: Jaden McDaniels
Pro Comparison: Mario Hezonja
Scouting Report: In terms of natural talent and skill, Jaden McDaniels looked like a potential top-10 pick coming into the season. Inconsistency hurt his stock, but it's still about the long-term potential with McDaniels, a 6'9" forward who can score as a pick-and-roll ball-handler, create one-on-one and shoot from three. There's still a lot of upside to reach based on his positional size and perimeter skill set.
Let's check out where McDaniels will slot in on the team's depth chart:
Karl-Anthony Towns, C: $31.7M (2024)
D'Angelo Russell, PG: $29.3M (2023)
Ricky Rubio, PG: $17M (2022)
James Johnson, PF: $14.4M (2021)
Jarrett Culver, SF: $6M (2023)
Jake Layman, SF: $3.8M (2022)
Josh Okogie, SG: $2.5M (2022)
Jacob Evans, SG: $1.9M (2022)
Omari Spellman, PF: $1.8M (2022)
Naz Reid, PF: $1.4M (2023)
Jarred Vanderbilt, PF: $1.3M (2021)
Jaylen Nowell, G: $1.2M (2023)
Anthony Edwards, SG: Rookie scale contract (2024)
Leandro Bolmaro, SG: Rookie scale contract (2024)
Jaden McDaniels, PF: Rookie scale contract (2024)
Evan Turner, SF: UFA
James Johnson, PF: Player option
Juan Hernangomez, PF: UFA
Malik Beasley, SG: RFA
McDaniels is one of the class' most intriguing prospects. His skill set puts him in position to become a prototypical stretch 4 at a time when that role is more important than ever.
The question is whether he can improve his efficiency enough to translate his potential into All-Star production at the NBA level after an up-and-down freshman season with the Huskies.
McDaniels averaged 13.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks across 31 appearances (21 starts) for UW during his only collegiate campaign.
The 20-year-old Washington native shot only 40.5 percent from the field, including 33.9 percent from three-point range, and also averaged 3.3 fouls and 3.2 turnovers.
He also registered six technical fouls, including one for throwing the ball at a referee while sitting on the bench during a January game against UCLA.
"We can't have that kind of behavior," Huskies head coach Mike Hopkins told reporters after a loss to the Bruins. "We need him to play. We just can't do that. There's no place in the game for that."
McDaniels' upside is evident. If he can improve his shooting efficiency, eliminate the mental mistakes and add more power to his 6'9" frame, he could emerge as one of the class' top players. It won't happen overnight, though. He's a developmental project.
The forward should take on a small role during his rookie season in Minnesota.
His involvement should increase in the years to come for the Timberwolves, who are betting his potential will eventually shine through in a major way.