Name: Jaden McDaniels
Measurables: 6’10”, 200 lbs
Stats last season: 13 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals; 4.4/10.8 FGs (40.5%), 1.4/4.1 3FGs (33.9%), 2.8/3.7 FTs (76.3%)
McDaniels may be the most offensively raw prospect in the draft. At just 19 years of age, he already has an NBA-ready pull-up game, an excellent handle, and terrific shooting mechanics to become a high profile scorer in the league. With that being said, McDaniels’ game is a bit one dimensional on the offensive end, and he lacks a feel for the game without the ball in his hands. Essentially, he’s a spot-up shooter with dribble-drive potential but lacks the experience and vision to make the right reads. His wiry frame and inability to finish through contact make him predictable on offense. In the right system, McDaniels could flourish, and if he expands his offensive arsenal, he has the potential to be a prolific scorer in the NBA one day.
McDaniels’ defensive skills are more polished than his game on the offensive end. At 6’10”, 200 lbs, McDaniels has the size, speed, and length to guard positions 1 through four. He has solid footwork for a player his size, which allows him to keep up with smaller players. He needs to add strength to his wiry frame, as I have question marks about his effectiveness when guarding bigger forwards, especially in the post. Given his insane athletic gifts and frame, McDaniels’ versatility on defense may be his calling card until he improves his offensive skillset.
Scoring Potential – Nice pull-up game going either direction, length helps him with a diverse finishing package. Raw offensive talent has shown the ability to hit tough shots after advanced moves on the perimeter and in the high post
Defensive Versatility – Can guard multiple positions, should be more effective as a defender as he continues to pack on weight and get stronger. Effective help side shot blocker
Athleticism – extremely fluid and agile, moves like a guard. Has some vertical pop and explosion
Ball Handling – Excellent handle for his size. Loves the hang dribble, which sets up other moves
Length – Helps him cover ground when attacking the basket, is also effective for shooting over defenders with ease and is disruptive on the defensive end
Strength/Weight – Skinny frame, will have trouble guarding 4s, isn’t strong enough to back down smaller defenders in the post
Consistency – Terrible efficiency on the offensive end, looks lost sometimes, questionable effort and production
IQ – Makes bad decisions with the basketball; forcing passes, taking tough shots, missing wide-open teammates. Defensively I have questions about his IQ since Washington ran a zone
Playmaking – Very predictable in passing situations, turnover-prone, struggles to create for teammates
Best Landing Spot
Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have a boatload of playmakers and scorers at their disposal already. Adding McDaniels would allow him to focus on spot-up shooting and defense, his two major strengths coming into the NBA. McDaniels would probably be utilized as a 3 and D wing off the bench, and I like his fit with the team longterm. He would fit perfectly in Billy Donavan’s three-guard lineup and would compete for minutes at the 3 and 4 spots. With playmakers like Dennis Schroder, Chris Paul, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, McDaniels has the opportunity to focus on his three-point shooting and pull up game.
Worst Landing Spot
Utah Jazz. The Jazz are somewhat untraditional in today’s game as most of their offense is initiated in the halfcourt, and the team shies away from a quicker pace of play. The team lacks playmakers outside of guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, and some of McDaniels’ glaring weakness is his playmaking and efficiency in half-court sets. The Jazz are also stockpiled at the wing spots with Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, Royce O’Neal, and Georges Niang. This would force McDaniels to spend the majority of his minutes as the 4 spot, where he needs to add weight in order to compete with NBA bigs.
Draft Range: Late first-rounder
Basketball IQ: 5. Reduced shot IQ leads to bad shots and low efficiency. Looks lost without the ball in his hands and is stagnant off the ball. Defensive IQ is questionable, considering the Huskies ran a zone for the majority of their defensive possessions.
Shooting: 9. McDaniels’ best attribute. His pull-up game will translate to the NBA right away. Ranked in the 83rd percentile in catch and shoot opportunities (1.18 points per play), nice mechanics, and quick release.
Passing: 5. Poor IQ results in turnovers, shouldn’t initiate the offense as a playmaker. Misses kick-out opportunities and has tunnel-vision; bad passer overall.
Dribbling: 8. Excellent handle for his position and size uses hang dribble to set up his pull up game. Has potential as an isolation scorer.
Hustle: 6. Effort is questionable at best. Isn’t seen diving for loose balls or competing on offense without the ball in his hands very often. This is disappointing given McDaniels’ athletic attributes and size/length.
Rebounding: 7. Wasn’t a big rebounder at Washington (5.8 RPG), but low rebounding totals are parallel to the Huskies’ use of a zone. Has good size and length to become a better rebounder.
Defense: 8. Excellent versatility to guard multiple positions. Fluid hips but needs to improve footwork to keep up with quicker guards. I worry about his ability to stick with stronger 4s given his strength and weight limitations.
Leadership: 5. Lack of hustle and communication show he wasn’t a leader at all in Washington.
Athleticism: 7. Very fluid athlete for his size. Athleticism aids McDaniels in the open floor; nice lift and hangtime in the paint. Isn’t overly explosive but has some pop, especially off two feet.
Upside: 9. I am very shaky about the player McDaniels can become. He has the chance to become a quality starter, but also a player on the end of the bench. If his motor and effort cath up to his ridiculous physical tools, he has tremendous upside.
Total Rating: 69/100
Jaden McDaniels Comparison
I like the comparisons between McDaniels and Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac in regards to his combination of length, defensive versatility, and potential. I could see McDaniels earning a reputation as a defensive stopper in some matchups, just like Isaac has done in his time in Orlando. Offensively, McDaniels shows flashes of Michael Porter Jr. Both are long wings with a guard skill set and can hit jumpers off the dribble will using their length to their advantage. McDaniels doesn’t possess the same potential as Porter Jr. does as a scorer, but he can be a lesser version of the Nugget’s wing.
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