Spurs Prospect Watch: Jaden McDaniels

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While another week usually means another string of losses for the San Antonio Spurs, they gave everyone a nice surprise and beat the Knicks last Saturday night. While that was a reassuring sign, the Spurs still have some work to do and are currently projected as a lottery team. As it stands, they look to be picking in the latter half of the lottery. This week’s prospect watch will reflect that in Washington do-it-all forward Jaden McDaniels.

The freshman phenom is listed at 6-foot-9 and 200 pounds by the official University of Washington website, but he could turn out to be taller and bigger by the time he tests his measurables at the NBA Combine. Here are his stats over the course of the team’s first six games:

  • 13.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.8 BPG
  • 38.9 FG%, 28.6 3P%, 77.8 FT%
  • 88.0 ORtg, 88.1 DRtg

Some of those numbers above would certainly be considered troubling, especially with his high usage rate of just over 26 percent and his turnover rate of 22 percent. However, as a freshman who is being relied upon as a major playmaker and ball handler, he will need some time to figure out how to limit his turnovers and some bad decision-making at times on the court.

McDaniels has shown that he can step out and shoot from all over the floor, and it looks natural for him despite what the shooting percentages might say. He is aggressive and doesn’t settle for shots too often as he does like to drive the ball. He can hit the mid-range shots when needed and he’s taken quite a few this season, but he is a capable shooter in other areas of the floor as well.

He is comfortable handling the ball, but he has to tighten it up and he has to dribble with more purpose at times. He will sometimes dribble around and not make a move to the basket, which usually ends in a turnover from him on those possessions. However, he does have some nifty spin moves and can get into the paint when he has a strength advantage on smaller defenders.

His biggest weakness right now is not being able to handle similarly-sized or stronger defenders. He can’t get by them unless he gets the first step or catches them off guard. He does have a good first step at his size, but if he’s beat to a spot, he doesn’t have a counter move outside of his go-to spin move.

The Washington freshman is an incredibly intriguing prospect who has shown flashes of what he can become. His ceiling is incredibly high and if he bulks up, his floor gets a lot higher too. That will be his biggest indicator of how much success he can have at the NBA level.

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