On a day with plenty of players inking contract extensions, one move that has seemingly gone under the radar is Jaden McDaniels being extended for five years with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves see a lot of potential in the young wing who is already one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire NBA. The team has some young talent to build around Anthony Edwards for the future and McDaniels is clearly in those long-term plans. If he can polish his offensive game a bit more, then he can become an extremely, quality rotational piece for the Minnesota Timberwolves as they look to reach the top echelon of the Western Conference.
Minnesota Timberwolves Extend Jaden McDaniels to a Five-Year, $136 Million Contract
Jaden McDaniels’ Impact as a Wing Defender
As alluded to already, McDaniels is already one of the best wing defenders in the NBA. He even believes he is one himself. It helps when Clippers All-Star, Paul George, is also giving you praise as a solid defender. This is what McDaniels had to say about it a few months ago in an interview with Shams Charania.
“It makes me feel good and I do believe it,” said McDaniels. “From those guys being in the league so long, me having respect for them and what they’ve done to the game, that’s just a plus to the work I’ve put in over the three years I’ve been in the NBA. Just being able to watch them guys as I was younger, for them to say those things is kind of eye-opening. It’s made me feel good about myself.”
The six-foot-nine small forward has plenty of length to contest and block shots. Not to mention, he is quick enough to keep up with some of the better perimeter players in the NBA. Last season, the young and versatile player tallied 1.0 blocks per game to go along with a defensive rating of 115 and a defensive win-share total of +2.4. With him being young still, McDaniels still has a high ceiling which is a major factor in the Minnesota Timberwolves extending the high-profile defender.
Minnesota’s Long Term Plan
It is clear that Jaden McDaniels is a part of Minnesota’s future plans. While Karl-Anthony Towns continues to find his name in trade rumors, it is safe to say that Anthony Edwards is the franchise cornerstone (that is, if they can retain him). Keeping McDaniels is a solid start to building around Edwards for the future, even if it is a bit of an overpay. Remember, quality wing defenders are essential in today’s NBA and are often the difference between a first round exit and a deep playoff run.
It remains to be seen if Rudy Gobert will be on the team long term, but Naz Reid is another young talent the team is very high on as well. He could also be a part of their future plans. All in all, it was smart on the Timberwolves’ part to lock down Jaden McDaniels long term and secure some defensive versatility on the perimeter.