One bright spot from Minnesota’s Monday debacle in Atlanta was the return of Jaden McDaniels. The winger – playing his first game after straining his calf in the preseason opener in Abu Dhabi – finished with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting while being one of the few defenders competent Wolves. All of this happened in 24 minutes, with McDaniels playing a limited number of minutes while getting back into position.
“He looked good,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch told reporters. “It was a shame he was on a minutes restriction because we really could have used him guarding (Dejounte) Murray, but he spent most of his minutes guarding (Trae) Young and he did a good job.”
McDaniels said “it was good to be back, just playing basketball.” He noted that he found a good rhythm early on. The early installments helped, as did the Timberwolves’ build-up strategy.
“I played a little bit before I could play a game – like playing in a league to stay in shape (after practice) and stuff, so I was able to hoop a little bit,” McDaniels said. “It wasn’t my first time hoops.”
McDaniels noted that his wind was a little short at times during the competition, although he attributed some of that to battling a cold.
“Other than that, I felt good,” he said. “My calf felt good, no pain. So I’m fine.
Some are wondering why Jordan McLaughlin didn’t see any action as the ball got sticky in the second half of Monday’s loss to Atlanta.
Finch said he considered replacing the reserve spark plug, but instead opted to ride with Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the hope he could slow Murray’s rolling.
“It didn’t work out that way,” Finch said. “He did a decent job, but Murray, at that point, was on fire.”
Finch said his real regret in the second half was not setting up a zone defense or putting Kyle Anderson on Murray earlier to potentially impact him with his length.
Mike Conley said he was feeling better Wednesday morning after battling apparent stomach issues.