On inauguration night, Jaden McDaniels officially had his NBA coming-out party as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Now people want to see more of this guy.
In a 97-96 defeat at home to the Orlando Magic, McDaniels more than doubled his minutes (26) from his previous best and registered career highs in points (12), rebounds (8) and blocks (3). He was forced to play extensively in Wednesday's outing because two teammates were out.
Minnesota has been an adjustment for him, but more so for the weather than the basketball. He said he could handle it.
"It's super cold, though I'm used to the cold from Seattle," McDaniels told Timberwolves media. "They say it's a lot of snow, but I'm kind of excited. It's just new place, new culture. This is the start of my journey."
The former University of Washington player appeared in only seven of the first 13 games for the rebuilding Timberwolves who have brought him along slowly.
Yet Minnesota (3-10) needs immediate help. Teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Juancho Hernan Gomez are injured and unavailable.
"I think I fit pretty well," McDaniels said. "Being versatile, I feel like I could play one through four at any time. Kind of like I said earlier, I'm just taking pieces off [Towns'] game and little tips, even how to guard bigger dudes in the post, and just learn on the pick-and-rolls and stuff."
McDaniels, who is from Federal Way, Washington, and spent a forgettable season with the UW last year, went to Minnesota with the 28th draft selection and was labeled a project player.
Clearly, he showed himself to be an immature teenager with the Huskies, drawing six technical fouls for a variety of reasons and playing inconsistently throughout.
To his credit, McDaniels is growing into an adult who seems fully engaged in becoming a formidable pro basketball player.
He seems out to prove himself as an NBA player.
"I feel like being a versatile player, being able to handle the ball and stuff," he said. "I feel like such different situations, like I could sometimes be the creator for them or even in opposite ways."
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