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2020 NBA Draft Profiles: Jaden McDaniels

Could the One-and-Done big be the 4th big in the rotation?

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NCAA Basketball: Maine at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jaden McDaniels, F, University of Washington

  • 6’9 (6’11.5” wingspan), 200 lbs., Today (9/29) is his 20th birthday, from Seattle, WA.
  • 2019-20 season: 31 games played, 31.1 minutes per game, 13 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game, 40.5% from the field (34% from three), 76% free throw shooter.
  • ACCOLADES: 2019-20 Wooden Award Preseason Watch List, 2019 McDonald’s All-American, 2018 NIKE EYBL Breakout Player of the Year.
  • ADVANCED STATS STRENGTHS (per tankathon): Draft Age and Blocking Shots
  • ADVANCED STATS WEAKNESSES (per tankathon): effective field goal % (.469), assist to turnover ration (.65), PER (14.6, league average is 15), box +/- (2.6)
  • CURRENT BIG BOARD RANKINGS: Tankathon (40), Ringer (23), ESPN (24), CBS (29),

Jaden McDaniels is a raw prospect with a high ceiling but a low floor. He is the definition of a boom-or-bust prospect. He draws comparisons to Andrew Wiggins and Darius Bazley amongst others. Gorgui Dieng will likely not be in Memphis after this upcoming season, and the verdict is still out on Jontay Porter as to who will be the fourth big man in the rotation for the future. You could argue you only need Jonas Valanciunas, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke with Justise Winslow and Kyle Anderson getting minutes at the 4, but what about when Jaren eventually becomes the 5 for the contending version of this team? Memphis will need another big that can spread the floor around Ja Morant, and McDaniels has the skill set to do just that.

This draft pick should prioritize shooting from someone like Grant Riller, but were Memphis to find themselves at 40 and no viable shooters left, McDaniels is a perfect candidate to stick in Southaven for a season or two to develop.


What he does well

McDaniels is an excellent weak-side shot-blocker and a decent shooter for his size. He plays the 4 in college due to his height, but his ability to pull up off the dribble and knock down shots could pave the way for him to be on the wing in the league. Were he to continue to improve his shooting stroke, Jaden has a Jonathan Isaac type potential.

How he can improve

Jaden McDaniels is widely touted as having one of the highest ceilings in the draft, but due to some glaring weaknesses, he is falling anywhere from 20-50 on draft boards. The two flaws Jaden possesses, Memphis Grizzlies fans had to labor through watching this past season in Dillon Brooks — shot selection and foul trouble.

McDaniels only shot 40% from the field, and it was because he had very poor shot selection. In the league, he will no longer be the best player on his roster, so will he know how to pick his spots and do what is best for his team to win?

He also led the entire Pac-12 in total fouls in his lone season. Averaging 3.4 fouls per game is something that must be improved upon as Memphis frequently has to deal with both Brooks and Jaren working their own foul issues.


The Fit and Verdict

The fit for Jaden McDaniels and the Memphis Grizzlies is strictly for the future. He fits in the system that Jenkins wants to run, but his staff will need to spend time developing the young forward before he is a contributor on this team.

The verdict is that Memphis could do much worse in the second round as far as boom potential. It all comes down to what Memphis values this year. Is it a four-year guy ready to come in and contribute right away like Markus Howard? Or is it a shooter like Grant Riller? Or is it strictly on best available floor or ceiling? If it is the potential Memphis wants to be patient for, McDaniels would be an excellent selection in the second round, however I doubt he slips out of the first.

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