With the 2020 NBA season over, we can look to the NBA Draft, which will be happening on November 18th. There is a bevy of interesting prospects hoping to hear their name on draft night. One of them is Washington’s Jaden McDaniels, the younger brother of Charolette Horney Jalen McDaniels. Jaden was a consensus All American coming out of high school. In his only season for the Huskies, McDaniels was averaging 13 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.4 blocks on 31 minutes per game. Now that he has declared for the draft, let’s take a look at what he might bring to the NBA.
Jaden McDaniels Highlight Video
Build and Length
McDaniels stands at 6’10 and has a nearly 7-foot wingspan. On the defensive end, that should allow him to contest shots and grab rebounds and disrupt passing lanes. On offense, it will allow him to play above the rim, shoot over opponents and play in the post. He will need to continue to build up muscle and gain some weight, but McDaniels has shown signs of improvement on that front. If he can add weight and muscle, he’ll be able to play his game. Jaden is also fast, not just for someone who is 6’10 but for a basketball player. He is able to get up and down the court with relative ease.
McDaniels’s length and height will allow him to be able to play multiple positions when he gets into the NBA. He is also a good enough athlete to be able to keep up and shoot over with smaller opponents. On the flip side, he is quicker than most his size, allowing him to get by them while being able to stand up to them. There is the issue that McDaniels will need to continue to gain weight and muscle, something he showed great strides in while at Washington.
Strength and Weight
As previously mentioned, McDaniels will need to gain some more weight and muscle if he wants to avoid being bullied in the post. He has the athleticism to keep up with smaller opponents but struggled at times when getting posted up by stronger opponents. He relies a little too much on his athleticism when facing stronger opponents. While this works at the college level, facing off against stronger and more mature players will hurt McDaniels when he gets into the leg.
Turnover and Ball Handling:
Perhaps Mcdaniels’s biggest problem will be keeping control of the ball. As a non-ball dominant player, he averaged 3.2 turnovers per game. While not totally incapable with the ball in his hands, he made plenty of careless passes and bounced the ball off his feet or lost his handle. He will definitely improve once he gets drafted, but the question is how much of that raw potential can be fulfilled? It will likely depend on him going to the right team.
NBA Comparison: Jeremai Grant
Both were super raw coming out of college with all the tools to become long, lanky wing defenders. Grant has come into his role as a lanky defender and has found successes in the league, but McDaniels might have a higher ceiling. Grant and McDaniels are both good rebounders, long defenders, and have great athleticism. McDaniels certainly is a more heralded prospect coming into the pros. Despite not having a great shot, his mechanics are good and good coaching could get his percentages higher.