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Wolves Forward Jaden McDaniels is Growing Into a Bigger Role Than Ever Before

The defensive stopper has grown in more ways than one during his meteoric rise to become a two-way force for the Wolves.

Minnesota Timberwolves v San Antonio Spurs Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

When you reach the dog days of the NBA offseason the basketball content river starts to run dry. We start to overhype and undervalue players and teams, come up with wild, never-gonna-happen late offseason trade ideas that could shake up the landscape of the league and pray for the days that we got to watch our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves play on a night-to-night basis.

While the big news this week is that Anthony Edwards will step foot on a basketball court to play a game for the first time since the playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, we got another, more unexpected piece of news from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski:

Jaden McDaniels is reportedly being measured at 6-foot-11 in his summer workouts - two inches taller than he was listed at last season.

Yes you heard that right. One of the best and most versatile defenders in the league is now closing in on seven feet tall — and he may not be done growing. As a Timberwolves fan, you get excited about the prospect of his game taking a step forward as he will add to his already absurd length and get closer and closer to guarding some of the best centers in the league (if he is able to put on weight to go along with this newfound height). As a 22-year-old who is scraping 5-foot-10, I get excited about the idea that maybe, just maybe, I can get a little bit taller. A guy can dream right?

Getting back to McDaniels, we see these reports about young players growing every single year. The thing is, rarely do they come from a source as reliable as JK. While we will have to see what happens when official NBA measurements happen closer to the start of the season, we can still start to think about these ramifications as the Timberwolves’ big identity continues to round into form.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Front-Court Length

The first idea that comes to mind when we think about Jaden getting taller is the size that the Wolves will have on the front lines for the upcoming season. Rudy Gobert is 7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-9 wingspan, Karl-Anthony Towns is 7-feet with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and Jaden McDaniels is now 6-foot-11 with a 6-foot-11.5 wingspan — not to mention that his wingspan could’ve grown along with his height, but that is not confirmed one way or the other.

To put that into perspective, if you were to have Towns, Gobert and McDaniels join hands they would be easily taller than a giraffe. This length will create a lot of blocks and be a luxury to have on the back lines protecting the rim and clogging the passing lanes.


If you talk to me about anything defense, you will know that I firmly believe that the most important part of being a good defensive player is versatility. Having the option to guard multiple positions and, more importantly, multiple player archetypes is the key to having good individual and team defense. With these two extra inches, the University of Washington product is fast approaching the ability to guard the center position more effectively. McDaniels has always been able to guard the 1-4 very well, and any extra versatility that he can add to his game is icing on top of an already well frosted cake. If he is able to put on more weight with these extra couple of inches we very well could see him guard bigger guys on a more consistent basis. While that may not be the case because of his foul issues, having the option is still extremely intriguing.

When you zoom out it seems very funny to be talking about a player growing as a noteworthy event, but in a sport where height and wingspan is so important every inch matters. The ability to do more in this regard can only add to the limitless potential of the 4th year player. I am already chomping at the bit to see Chris Finch deploy a lineup of Kyle Anderson, Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. Yes I know this is a pipe dream but damn, that is a whole lot of length.

To quote Al Pacino and his infamous quote from the film Any Given Sunday, “It’s a game of inches” and the Timberwolves just gained two more of them.