Rookie Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels, the No. 28 pick out of Washington in the 2020 draft, has emerged as a potential keeper for Minnesota, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Though his counting stats are currently modest, the 6’9″ McDaniels’ defensive upside and corner three-point shooting have earned him a spot on the Timberwolves depth chart. He is averaging 19.1 MPG across 30 contests.
“Just trying to help them out as many ways as I can, rebounding as hard as I can, playing defense, just I feel like that does help a lot,” McDaniels said of his first NBA season. “You can come in fresh and nobody knows who I am and they don’t know what I can do.”
There’s more out of the Northwest:
- There have been some minor updates on the health status of key Trail Blazers starters CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic. Shooting guard McCollum continues to rehabilitate the left foot he broke in January, and has been cleared to participate in contact practices, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic (Twitter link). Center Nurkic, who underwent a right wrist surgery earlier this season, is gradually progressing in his on-court workouts, Quick noted in a separate tweet. Both players will be re-evaluated next week.
- Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN assesses All-Star Nuggets center Nikola Jokic‘s atypical path to MVP candidacy. Youngmisuk tracks Jokic’s rise from overlooked No. 41 pick in the 2014 draft to one of the best-passing big men in the history of the NBA. Fellow MVP contender LeBron James recently praised the center’s court vision. “The guy has an unbelievable talent of seeing the floor and seeing plays happen before they happen,” James said.
- In an extensive Nuggets mailbag, Mike Singer of the Denver Post examines a variety of trade options for Denver ahead of the March 25 deadline. The fits of Rockets vets Victor Oladipo and P.J. Tucker, plus Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica, are assessed.