Jaden McDaniels is wreaking havoc for Timberwolves on his way to All-Defensive Team recognition

By Sanjit Gupta

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As the Timberwolves faced off against the Mavericks in February, the game was reaching its climax. With just under 15 seconds left on the clock and the Timberwolves holding a three-point lead, it was clear to everyone in the American Airlines Center – coaches, players, and fans alike – that the ball would be in Luka Doncic’s hands.Jaden McDaniels iswreaking havoc,U.S. and U.K.,stripping Julius Randlein isolation, jaden mcdaniels position,

Little did they know that one of the top wing defenders in the league was about to shut down Doncic and the Mavericks.

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Doncic signaled for the ball, but Jaden McDaniels quickly intervened with his impressive wingspan, tipping the ball into the backcourt. Although Doncic managed to regain possession and pass to Kyrie Irving, both were met with a strong defense from McDaniels and Anthony Edwards. In the end, their defensive efforts resulted in a game-winning turnover that made waves online.

“Our teammate is the best perimeter defender in the NBA,” stated Wolves guard Austin Rivers.


While Jaden McDaniels may not be a well-known name among fans, the players he has guarded are starting to recognize his talent. Paul George recently praised him on his podcast, referring to McDaniels as one of the most underrated players in the league. George also highlighted his defensive skills, noting his quick feet and hands. Jaden McDaniels iswreaking havoc,Jaden McDaniels iswreaking havoc,Jaden McDaniels iswreaking havoc,Jaden McDaniels iswreaking havoc, 

George’s praise came shortly after McDaniels played a crucial role in securing another win for the Timberwolves through his defensive prowess. In another close game, McDaniels prevented George from receiving the ball in the crucial moments, ultimately sealing the victory for the Timberwolves with his standout defense.U.S. and U.K.,U.S. and U.K.,U.S. and U.K.,U.S. and U.K.,U.S. and U.K.,

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Throughout the season, Jaden McDaniels has proven himself to be a top performer when it comes to making crucial defensive stops. In one instance, he secured a third win for the Timberwolves with a critical play, stripping the ball from Julius Randle during an isolation play. He continued this trend in another game, where he stayed glued to Stephen Curry and forced a turnover in a game-saving sequence, marking his fourth clutch defensive play of the season.

Jaden McDaniels undoubtedly possesses impressive physical abilities, but his greatest strength lies in his mentality. He firmly believes that with the right mindset, anyone can become an at least average defender. For him, what sets him apart is his unwavering determination to make second and third efforts on a single play, a mentality that he believes is critical to being a successful defender.

During their last matchup this season, McDaniels’ effort and determination were on full display as he relentlessly guarded Kawhi Leonard, causing him to shoot just 7-of-19 from the field. McDaniels even managed to pull off an impressive block against Leonard, refusing to be pushed off his spot by the talented player.jaden mcdaniels position,jaden mcdaniels position,jaden mcdaniels position, jaden mcdaniels position,jaden mcdaniels position 

In an interview with The Sporting News, McDaniels recounted the play where he blocked Leonard and explained his thought process. He acknowledged that Leonard had pushed him far off his spot, which could have discouraged some players from contesting the shot. However, McDaniels remained determined and gave it his all by making a second effort, ultimately resulting in a block against one of the league’s top players.

Jaden McDaniels’ relentless effort on defense is complemented by his exceptional technique. He has a keen sense of how to position his body to prevent opposing players from getting to their desired spots on the court. This combination of tireless effort and sound defensive fundamentals has made McDaniels a formidable defender on the court.

When asked about his defensive strategy, McDaniels explained that he focuses on cutting off the first dribble during a closeout or an isolation situation. His goal is to force the offensive player to change direction and disrupt their flow, ultimately leading to a less effective offensive play.

Jaden McDaniels has developed a distinctive defensive technique to throw off opponents as they drive to the basket. He combines elements of Luke Kornet’s “eclipse” contesting method with the traditional “pulling-the-chair” trick used in the post to make players lose their balance as they approach the rim. This technique has proven effective in disrupting opponents’ offensive flow and causing turnovers.

McDaniels explained his defensive technique further, stating that he guards opponents from the side and tries to go vertical at the end of the play. He uses his height advantage to jump and cover the rim, making it difficult for opponents to see and score. Some players try to get into his body, but McDaniels utilizes a variation of the “pulling the chair” trick to make them lose their balance and disrupt their drive. This unique approach to defense has helped him become one of the most effective wing defenders in the league.

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McDaniels added that when he closes out on his opponents, they often can’t see the rim when he jumps with his hands up due to his height and wingspan. This creates a challenging shooting environment for the opposing player and helps McDaniels contest shots effectively. His combination of height, wingspan, and defensive technique has made him a nightmare matchup for many players in the league.

Thanks for bringing that up. McDaniels’ unique combination of craftiness and physical tools has enabled him to become one of the league’s top rim protectors at the wing position. According to NBA Stats, opposing players have shot 6.4 percent worse within six feet of the basket when guarded by McDaniels. This places him in the top 86 percent of the league, along with established defensive stars such as Myles Turner and O.G. Anunoby. It’s a testament to McDaniels’ all-around defensive game, which has helped the Timberwolves improve significantly on the defensive end this season.

Although McDaniels is no stranger to blocking shots at the rim, his real standout skill lies in his ability to disrupt jump shooters. While many players settle for providing adequate defense on 3-point attempts, McDaniels stands out as one of the few who can frequently swat the ball away from the shooter.

According to McDaniels, the players he blocks on jump shots are often caught off guard. He mentioned that some of them even express their surprise by making comments such as, “Wow, I didn’t even see you in my sightline.”

McDaniels shared an example of blocking Jamal Murray’s 3-pointers multiple times in a game, and Murray acknowledging that he had never experienced his jumper being blocked so many times before. McDaniels attributed this surprise to the rarity of his skill, saying that people often underestimate his ability to block jump shots. However, he explained that his precise timing in anticipating when the shooters will take their shots is what sets him apart.

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In addition to his shot-blocking abilities, McDaniels is highly skilled at staying with opposing players as they maneuver through multiple screens. He shared his strategy for guarding 3-point shooters with quick release, such as Klay Thompson, which involves closely pursuing them and not giving them any space to get off their shot.

McDaniels’ approach to guarding players like Klay Thompson involves starting the defensive play early by positioning himself right next to Thompson and placing a hand on his back. This helps him maintain contact and stay attached to Thompson as they move through screens. Once in position, McDaniels shadows Thompson’s movements closely, ensuring he’s in the best possible position to contest his shot.

Describing his approach to guarding players like Klay Thompson, McDaniels likened it to playing cornerback in football, but from a different angle. He explained that his role is similar to a cornerback’s, as he has to stick with his opponent closely and prevent them from getting open, but he does so from behind rather than in front.

McDaniels’ effectiveness as a defender goes beyond his effort and technique, as his drive to prevent opponents from scoring runs deep. He credits this mindset to his experience guarding his older brother, Jalen, who currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. By constantly competing against Jalen, McDaniels developed a strong desire to prevent his brother from scoring and learned the importance of maintaining that level of intensity throughout the game.

McDaniels attributed his competitive spirit to growing up playing basketball with his older brother, Jalen, and cousins. Despite being younger and often overmatched, they would relentlessly play one-on-one games outside, with his brother and cousins frequently beating him and not taking it easy on him. They would foul him and score on him, which fueled his desire to improve and compete at a higher level.

According to McDaniels, his intense competitiveness stems from those early experiences of playing basketball against his older brother and cousins, who would regularly score on him and make it difficult for him to score. He explained that whenever someone scores on him now, it brings back those memories and fuels his drive to prevent it from happening again. Ultimately, his competitive nature is what motivates him to be a tenacious defender on the court.

Compared to other players, McDaniels has had to deal with that frustration less often because he has been successful at holding many of the league’s star players well below their scoring averages throughout the season. stripping Julius Randlein isolation,stripping Julius Randlein isolation,stripping Julius Randlein isolation,stripping Julius Randlein isolation,  

Despite the common criticisms that NBA players don’t prioritize defense anymore, McDaniels doesn’t believe in it.

As McDaniels sees it, there are plenty of instances where players who normally score 60 or 70 points are held to just 10 points in a game, but those accomplishments often go unnoticed or unacknowledged.

To support his belief, McDaniels can point to specific examples, such as when Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points in a game against the Bulls only to be held to just 14 points on a poor 5-of-16 shooting performance in his next game against Minnesota just 12 days later.

As the season progresses, McDaniels has set only two personal goals for himself. The first one is aimed at impressing the awards voters.

McDaniels stated that his primary objective is to make one of the All-Defensive Teams, ideally the First Team, as he believes he has earned it with his exceptional defensive play this season. He takes pride in guarding some of the best players in the league and feels that the things he’s been able to do on defense this season are the best of his career so far.

According to McDaniels, his defensive versatility has been evident as he has guarded players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, and Damian Lillard, among others, who play different positions on the court. He takes pride in guarding the best players on every team every night, regardless of their position, which he believes demonstrates his ability to guard players across all positions.

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