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Jaden McDaniels Is Heating Up At The Perfect Time

Jaden fans rise up!

NBA: Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Before the 2021-22 NBA season began, Jaden McDaniels was being mentioned with Anthony Edwards as the future of the Minnesota Timberwolves franchise. Fast forward to early February and expectations have been reset to what they probably should have been for a 20-year old late first round pick. Just be a capable role player in the rotation. Although, things could be swinging back in the other direction as Jaden McDaniels is heating up on offense.

The defense has always been there for McDaniels and he never backs down from defending the best player on the opposing team, but the offense has made him borderline unplayable at times. Instead of taking the path towards becoming the “Scottie Pippen” type of player Chris Finch hyped him up as, McDaniels started to fall down the much scarier Josh Okogie path of “play elite defense while playing offense like any Canis writer at the local YMCA open gym.” That’s a path no NBA player should follow.

When it’s all said and done and we know what type of player McDaniels truly is, the likeliest scenario is for him to end up somewhere in the middle of those two paths. Despite that, if you want to buy back into the McDaniels stock in hopes of him becoming like Pippen, now is the time to do so. And with the trade deadline coming up, other teams could be buying into that idea as well…

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

With the NBA Trade Deadline set for February 10th, the Timberwolves have some important decisions to make. Do they go get that coveted power forward? What about a backup center (sorry Naz) or a legitimate two-way player? Maybe someone who is paid to shoot and can actually shoot? (sorry Beas) If the Wolves make a trade, McDaniels could be on the move.

In almost any trade offer sent to the Wolves, you can be sure Jaden McDaniels’ name will be thrown in. How could it not be? He’s a 20 year old with the potential to be great and a floor of at least being awesome on defense. This was the case even before McDaniels’ recent stretch of encouraging play but now the Wolves can tell other teams “Look how good he is! You’re going to have to offer even more to take Jaden!” and that’s cool.

Over his last 7 games (small sample size, I know!) McDaniels has been lights out on both ends of the floor.

In 24.1 minutes per game McDaniels is scoring 10 points per game while shooting 39% from three and 71(!)% from two. This, of course, comes with his defense that’s among the best in the league.

(Follow @WolvesClips on Twitter. The guy is absurdly good at doing exactly what his Twitter account advertises)

Oh but suddenly you’re yelling at me about all of this, “But Cooper, I don’t WANT to trade Jaden! He’s a key piece of the Wolves future and I’m convinced he’s better than Scottie Pippen!”

Okay, chill out. That’s the other great part of McDaniels heating up! The Wolves don’t have to, and probably won’t, trade him! If the Wolves decide to either stay the course or upgrade marginally on the roster, McDaniels is staying and we can have many more memes of him and Anthony Edwards being the next Bulls dynasty. Thanks Jake.

In all seriousness, for once, McDaniels getting back to the player who showed so much promise last season and expanding it would be huge for a playoff hopeful Wolves team. This team is desperate for the role McDaniels was expected to fill before the season which is a player who can be consistently relied upon to be solid or better at everything while on the court. He can be the two-way player this team needs to make a run at the playoffs if he keeps up this production.

Overall, Jaden McDaniels finding his stride is happening at the perfect time whether you want success via trade or success via Jaden dunking and defending all over the place in Minnesota. And remember to vote Jaden to the All Star Game!

Quick plug: If you want to see this in video form, check out my YouTube channel for daily Wolves videos and streams after every game!