Wolves rookie Jaden McDaniels flashing first-round talent

President of basketball operations Gersson Rosas has a vision for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After making big changes to the Wolves’ roster at the 2019-20 trade deadline, Rosas has surrounded All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell with a core of promising young talent.

Each Thursday, we’ll be tracking the progress of these young players while also keeping up with the G League Iowa Wolves to see who will rise to the challenge of bringing a consistent, winning team to Minnesota.

This is the 3rd edition of the 2020-21 Young Wolves Tracker.



Jaden McDaniels

The Minnesota Timberwolves selected 20-year-old Jaden McDaniels in the 2020 draft because of his potential.

McDaniels didn’t exactly live up to his five-star billing during his lone collegiate season at Washington. McDaniels finished with single-digit points in seven of 31 games and didn’t even lead the Huskies in scoring, ranking second with 13.0 points per contest.

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Despite the inconsistencies in college, McDaniels still checked off many boxes — a 6-foot-10 forward with a 7-foot wingspan and the ability to shoot from 3-point range.

Minnesota liked what it saw from McDaniels and rolled the dice, drafting him 28th overall.

McDaniels made his NBA debut against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 27, entering the game in garbage time and finishing with 6 points. The former Huskies forward never played more than 12 minutes for the Timberwolves until Wednesday night against Orlando.

McDaniels entered the game in the first quarter and immediately made an impact with two offensive rebounds on his first trip down the floor.

He filled up the box score while playing 26 minutes, registering 12 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and one steal. McDaniels went 2 for 4 from 3-point range, boosting his career 3-point clip to 46.7% (7 of 15).

McDaniels won’t be lighting up the scoreboard every night, but it’s always encouraging to see positive signs of growth from the Wolves’ youth.


— In last week’s Young Wolves Tracker, we asked if 21-year-old forward Jarred Vanderbilt was due for a bigger role. Vanderbilt played a season-high 29 minutes against Atlanta on Monday and poured in eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. He also nailed his first career 3-pointer Wednesday against Orlando.

— Anthony Edwards’ struggles continue. Over the last four games, the Wolves’ top draft choice is averaging 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist per contest while shooting 20.5% from the field.

— Malik Beasley has launched 10+ 3-pointers in four of the last five games, nailing them at a 43.8% clip in that span.