X-Factor: McDaniels is key to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ playoff hopes

Jaden McDaniels (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Jaden McDaniels (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Jaden McDaniels entered the league as a tall, lanky defensive talent whose potential was overshadowed by that of his draft classmate, Anthony Edwards. While Edwards is certainly growing into the Minnesota Timberwolves leader, McDaniels has his own set of skills that will impact Minnesota’s success.

Most importantly, he offers the Minnesota Timberwolves defensive versatility, which should pair well with Rudy Gobert’s rim protection. McDaniels is a great rim protector himself. He has started in the league. Since entering the NBA, his block rate has been in the top ten percent. He is, however, much more valuable as an on-ball defender for this new Timberwolves squad.

The addition of Gobert should maximize both his and McDaniels’ defensive talents. Gobert will finally have a more than capable defender to partner with, and McDaniels will be able to move to his preferred small forward position instead of facing off with more physical power forwards.

McDaniels can guard positions 1 through 4 due to his length and speed, but often struggles against bigger players and commits unnecessary fouls. If he cuts down that number this season, he will be much more valuable to Minnesota than he has been so far, and it should be possible for him to achieve that, too.