Jaden McDaniels

Northwest Notes: McDaniels, McCollum, Jokic, Nuggets

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.

Northwest Notes: McDaniels, Miller, Hampton, Muscala

20-year-old rookie Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels is turning heads with his play as he continues to carve out more playing time, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

“I think he’s way better than people are realizing,” Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell raved. “He knows the game better than people expect. He makes these exciting plays out of nowhere.”

McDaniels was selected by the Wolves with the No. 28 pick out of Washington in the 2020 draft. He is averaging 17.4 MPG in 17 games. McDaniels played nearly 24 minutes in last night’s 120-118 loss to the Thunder, scoring 8 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Veteran Thunder forward Darius Miller is relishing his time back on a basketball court after missing all of the 2019/20 season due to a ruptured Achilles, as Joe Mussato of the Oklahoman details. “I was trying to figure out how to walk again last year around this part of the season,” Miller said, “so I’m just happy to be able to get out here and compete and play basketball again.” The 30-year-old got injured in a three-on-three game in August 2019 while with the Pelicans. He has played in six games for the Thunder. Miller scored a season-high nine points on three made three-pointers in a 106-103 Friday loss to the Timberwolves.
  • Nuggets rookie point guard R.J. Hampton has shown enough flashes to potentially convince the club he deserves more playing time, according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. “He’s proven he’s trustworthy,” head coach Mike Malone said after Hampton played a career-high 27 minutes last night in a 119-114 loss to the Kings. The No. 24 pick in the 2020 draft, who spent his age-18 season with the New Zealand Breakers, scored a career-high 7 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
  • Veteran Thunder center Mike Muscala has entered the league’s concussion protocol after suffering a concussion during the club’s 120-118 defeat of the Timberwolves last night, per Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman (Twitter link).

Wolves Notes: Towns, McDaniels, Nowell, Rosas

Star center Karl-Anthony Towns is with the Timberwolves on their current road trip and is a good bet to return to action at some point this week, team owner Glen Taylor told David Shama of Sports Headliners.

Towns, 25, has been limited to just four games so far this season due first to a wrist injury and then to a positive COVID-19 test. He has been in the NBA’s health and safety protocols for more than two weeks and hasn’t played since January 13.

Minnesota won its first two games of the 2020/21 season with Towns in the lineup, but has bottomed out since then, losing 15 of its last 18. Still, Taylor is hopeful that the club can make a push for a playoff spot this season, especially with a health Towns.

“I recognize that it’s going to be difficult, but on the other hand, there’s other teams that aren’t performing up to their expectations, too, and I guess we just gotta catch them,” he told Shama.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • When the Wolves selected Jaden McDaniels with the 28th pick in November’s draft, he was viewed as a long-term project who was unlikely to contribute much right away. However, as Chris Hine of The Star Tribune writes, the rookie forward has emerged as part of Minnesota’s regular rotation and has acquitted himself well, blocking three shots on Sunday and scoring 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting on Monday.
  • Wolves guard Jaylen Nowell has also recently entered the rotation and has scored double-digit points in four straight games. The 21-year-old remains a work in progress though, according to Hine, who notes that Nowell hasn’t been able to translate his G League scoring efficiency to the NBA, where he has made just 9-of-48 career three-pointers (18.8%). Nowell is on a non-guaranteed contract.
  • Now that the Wolves are a full 82 games into Gersson Rosas‘ tenure as president of basketball operations, Britt Robson of The Athletic‘s evaluates Rosas’ performance to date. Robson likes what Rosas has done to fill out the front office and to identify low-cost, low-risk players with upside, but identifies the team’s hole at power forward and its mismatched point guard duo as problems, and says the jury is still out on both of Rosas’ lottery picks (Jarrett Culver and Anthony Edwards).

Wolves Sign Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Tyler Cook

The Timberwolves have officially signed two of their 2020 first-round picks, finalizing rookie contracts with former Georgia guard Anthony Edwards and former Washington forward Jaden McDaniels, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

Edwards, 19, became the No. 1 pick in the draft after averaging 19.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 32 games in his first and only college season. Assuming he signed for 120% of his rookie scale amount, as nearly every first-round pick does, he’ll earn $9.76MM in 2020/21 and $44MM+ over the life of his four-year contract.

McDaniels, the younger brother of Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, averaged 13.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 31 games as a freshman at Washington before he declared for the draft. As the 28th overall pick, he projects to make $1.96MM as a rookie and $10MM+ over four years.

The Timberwolves’ other first-round pick, Leandro Bolmaro, is expected to remain with FC Barcelona in Spain for at least one more season, so he won’t sign his first NBA contract quite yet.

However, Minnesota did finalize one more signing, per RealGM’s transactions log, inking former Cavaliers Nuggets forward Tyler Cook to a training camp contract.

Undrafted out of Iowa in 2019, Cook spent time last season on a two-way contract and a pair of 10-day deals with Cleveland before joining Denver for the NBA restart as a substitute player. He only appeared in 13 total NBA games, but played more for the Canton Charge and OKC Blue in the G League, averaging 12.9 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 29 games (21.3 MPG).

Lakers, Thunder Finalize Dennis Schröder, Danny Green Trade

NOVEMBER 18, 11:46pm: The deal is now official, the Lakers confirmed in a press release. The Lakers received Schröder in exchange for Green and the draft rights to No. 28 pick Jaden McDaniels, who will be flipped to Minnesota in a separate trade. Green will also be moved in another deal.


NOVEMBER 15, 10:56am: The teams have an agreement in principle on a deal, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.


NOVEMBER 15, 10:02am: The Lakers are expected to acquire guard Dennis Schröder from the Thunder when the trade moratorium lifts on Monday, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Oklahoma City will receive the 28th pick in Wednesday’s draft and guard Danny Green in return.

Woj adds that the trade is “well on course to be completed” and that other teams that were pursuing Schröder have moved on to different players.

L.A. owes a protected first-rounder in 2021 to the Pelicans, so the deal can’t be finalized until the Lakers make their draft pick Wednesday night, points out Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

Schröder, 27, will make $15.5MM this season in the final year of his contract. He has spent two years in Oklahoma City and averaged 18.9 points and 4.0 assists off the bench last season. In Los Angeles, he’ll become a primary play-maker for the Lakers and could be the team’s third scoring option behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Green, 33, will make $15.4MM in 2020/21, so the salaries match up for a deal. He signed with the Lakers last summer and averaged 8.0 PPG in 68 games. He has played for the last two NBA champions and will be a free agent again in 2021.

Schröder may be just the first of several veterans moved by Oklahoma City this fall — Chris Paul and Steven Adams are also considered trade candidates. Theoretically, the team could also immediately flip Green to a new team as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Warriors, Vassell, Suns, Spurs, Mavs, More

The Warriors continue to actively discuss trades involving the No. 2 pick, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link), who writes within his latest mock draft that the Bulls, Pistons, and Knicks are among the candidates to make a deal with Golden State.

If the Warriors remain at No. 2, the team seems more likely to select Memphis center James Wiseman than Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Wasserman has heard that there are some voices in Golden State’s front office against drafting Edwards, as well as mixed opinions within the front office on LaMelo Ball.

As Wasserman details, the Warriors have also expressed “legitimate” interest in sharpshooting wing Devin Vassell, but the assumption is that the club wouldn’t take the Florida State prospect at No. 2 — he’d be an option in a trade-down scenario. Wasserman adds that Vassell’s camp is confident he’ll go in the middle of the lottery and is unlikely to slip past the Kings at No. 12.

Here are a few more draft-related updates and rumors:

  • According to Givony, the Suns (No. 10) are “looking heavily” at point guards and wing players, especially prospects who can complement Devin Booker, while the Spurs (No. 11) are eyeing both big men and wings in the hopes of bolstering their frontcourt.
  • The Mavericks have expressed some interest in trading up into the lottery, league sources tell Jeremy Woo of SI.com. Dallas currently holds the 18th and 31st overall picks.
  • Teams with picks in the 20s aren’t expecting Precious Achiuwa to be available, according to Wasserman, who says the Memphis forward will likely be picked in the 9-18 range.
  • Multiple teams believe Arizona shooting guard Josh Green could slip a little, with some clubs viewing him as a “fringe first-rounder,” writes Wasserman.
  • Jaden McDaniels, Tyrell Terry, Daniel Oturu, Tyrese Maxey, and RJ Hampton are among the first-round candidates with the widest projected draft ranges, per Wasserman.

Northwest Notes: Wolves’ No. 1 Pick, M. Morris, Thunder, McDaniels

The Timberwolves haven’t received tempting offers yet for the top pick in next week’s draft, but executive vice president Sachin Gupta said “three phone” time is coming soon, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. That’s what Gupta calls the days immediately before the draft when front office members are balancing several phone calls at once.

“There’s not a whole lot of pleasantries that are happening with those calls,” he said. “There’s no time for it. It’s, ‘What do you want? What do you got for me?’ ”

Minnesota should find a lot of interest in the top selection between now and November 18. The Warriors and Hornets are both believed to be eyeing former Memphis center James Wiseman, while Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball may entice other teams to move up. The Wolves could have the luxury of playing teams against each another to drive up offers.

“We’ve always been active, and with these types of assets at our disposal, it really plays into sort of our mentality of turning over every rock and figuring out what all the possibilities are,” Gupta said.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

Heat Notes: Ramsey, Quickley, Draft, Crowder, More

Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey and Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley are among the prospects whom the Heat have reached out to about potential in-person workouts, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

The club only holds the No. 20 pick in this month’s draft, but is doing plenty of homework on the players who could be options in that range — Ramsey is the 35th prospect on ESPN’s big board, while Quickley – who has interviewed with Miami twice, per Jackson – ranks 42nd.

As Jackson details, the Heat have also “taken a look” at Washington forwards Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart, who are 23rd and 27th on ESPN’s board. Additionally, Miami has called to speak to Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans, who is ranked just 68th by ESPN. Hagans would likely only be an option for the Heat if they acquire a second-round pick or if he goes undrafted, Jackson notes.

The Heat were also expected to view group workouts for Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu (No. 37 on ESPN) and Arizona guard Nico Mannion (No. 25), writes Jackson. And as our JD Shaw reported on Monday, College of Charleston guard Grant Riller has interviewed with Miami as well.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Although Jae Crowder is a Georgia native, he has made Miami his adopted hometown, having prepared for the 2012 draft in South Florida and having bought a house in Miami in 2017. As Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes, Crowder’s fondness for both Miami and the Heat should put the team in a good position to re-sign him this fall, even if he doesn’t give the club an “adopted-hometown discount.”
  • While the Heat are accustomed to getting the most out of players who might not have thrived in other environments, Derrick Jones may be a candidate to become a more complete player and have more success with a new team if he departs in free agency, Winderman says in a Sun Sentinel mailbag.
  • Ultimate Software, the company that has an advertisement patch on Heat uniforms, has merged with The Kronos Group to form the Ultimate Kronos Group, resulting in a new jersey patch for the Heat. Darren Rovell of The Action Network (Twitter link) has the details.

Northwest Notes: Thunder, Jazz, Nuggets, Wolves

The Thunder are one of the few teams still searching for a new head coach. Last month, Billy Donovan and Oklahoma City surprisingly parted ways after he reportedly rejected a two-year contract offer from the Thunder.

With Donovan having moved onto Chicago, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman explores the idea of Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy as a potential head-coaching candidate for the Thunder. Mussatto notes that the 49-year-old Handy has a championship pedigree, having gone to the NBA Finals six times. He also looked at Handy’s journey, which includes playing professional basketball and getting his start as a player development coach in 2011.

Along with Handy, Mussatto profiled Spurs assistant Will Hardy as a head coaching option for the Thunder.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune takes a look at who the Jazz might select with the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. As Walden writes, Utah vice president Dennis Lindsey said last month that the team will be looking for a player who brings defensive intensity. Isaiah Stewart, Jaden McDaniels, Josh Green, and Tyrell Terry are just some of the prospects who may be options for the Jazz at No. 23.
  • In her latest mailbag, Kendra Andrews of The Athletic discusses what the Nuggets might do in free agency. Andrews was asked frequently about Jerami Grant, who played a pivotal role in Denver’s playoff run, an said that re-signing Grant is a top priority for the Nuggets. He could command a deal in the four-year, $64M range.
  • Chris Kine of The Star Tribune examines the next steps for the Timberwolves with the offseason finally here. As things stand, Minnesota has the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which could both the team a good player and fill a need. However, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas suggested it’s not realistic to address a need in the draft. “Needs have to be addressed in free agency and trades,” Rosas said. “With draft guys it’s a development process. You want it to be right away, but the reality is it’s a two, three, four-year process.” Rosas reiterated that Minnesota is establishing its culture. Meanwhile, Kine argues that the Timberwolves do not have time on their side with both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell looking to win.

LaMelo Ball Headlines List Of Draft Combine Participants

Potential No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball will be among the prospects participating in the revamped virtual draft combine this week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ball is scheduled to take part in team interviews and a media session this week, but may not participate in any other portion, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cautions (via Twitter).

While Ball’s participation might be limited, many of this year’s other top prospects aren’t taking part in the event at all. As Woo points out (via Twitter), Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, Onyeka Okongwu, Cole Anthony, Aaron Nesmith, Devin Vassell, and Saddiq Bey are among the players who don’t appear on the list of participants sent out by the NBA.

The list of top prospects besides Ball who will be participating in the event includes Precious Achiuwa, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton, RJ Hampton, Killian Hayes, Theo Maledon, and Isaac Okoro, among others.

Here’s the full list of combine participants, via Charania:

  1. Precious Achiuwa, F, Memphis
  2. Ty-Shon Alexander, G, Creighton
  3. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
  4. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
  5. LaMelo Ball, G, Illawarra Hawks (Australia)
  6. Desmond Bane, G, TCU
  7. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
  8. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke
  9. Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
  10. Mamadi Diakite, F, Virginia
  11. Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
  12. Paul Eboua, F, VL Pesaro (Italy)
  13. CJ Elleby, F, Washington State
  14. Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State
  15. Trent Forrest, G, Florida State
  16. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona
  17. Ashton Hagans, G, Kentucky
  18. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State
  19. Josh Hall, F, Moravian Prep
  20. RJ Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
  21. Jalen Harris, G, Nevada
  22. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany)
  23. Markus Howard, G, Marquette
  24. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse
  25. Isaiah Joe, G, Arkansas
  26. Mason Jones, G, Arkansas
  27. Tre Jones, G, Duke
  28. Nathan Knight, F/C, William & Mary
  29. Kira Lewis, G, Alabama
  30. Theo Maledon, G, ASVEL (France)
  31. Karim Mane, G, Vanier College (Canada)
  32. Nico Mannion, G, Arizona
  33. Naji Marshall, F, Xavier
  34. Kenyon Martin Jr., F, IMG Academy
  35. Skylar Mays, G, LSU
  36. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington
  37. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State
  38. Zeke Nnaji, F, Arizona
  39. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville
  40. Isaac Okoro, F, Auburn
  41. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
  42. Reggie Perry, F, Mississippi State
  43. Myles Powell, G, Seton Hall
  44. Payton Pritchard, G, Oregon
  45. Immanuel Quickley, G, Kentucky
  46. Jahmi’us Ramsey, G, Texas Tech
  47. Paul Reed, F, DePaul
  48. Nick Richards, F/C, Kentucky
  49. Grant Riller, G, Charleston
  50. Jay Scrubb, G, John A. Logan College
  51. Jalen Smith, F, Maryland
  52. Cassius Stanley, G, Duke
  53. Lamar Stevens, F, Penn State
  54. Isaiah Stewart, F/C, Washington
  55. Tyrell Terry, G, Stanford
  56. Xavier Tillman, F/C, Michigan State
  57. Kaleb Wesson, F/C, Ohio State
  58. Kahlil Whitney, F, Kentucky
  59. Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
  60. Robert Woodard II, F, Mississippi State

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is unable to hold its typical in-person draft combine this year, but the league has put together an alternative combine that will feature interviews through videoconferencing as well as the making of “pro day” videos, which will include strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, and shooting drills. Participants will also undergo medical testing and exams.

For more details on this year’s combine, be sure to check out our full story on the changes.