After reading that title, I’m assuming most readers would think of a certain forward drafted by the Charlotte Hornets on the 21st of June, 2019. However; it was not PJ Washington who is the subject of this deep dive; rather, it is San Diego State’s former talisman Jalen McDaniels.
Jalen McDaniels was the afterthought of the Charlotte Hornets 2019 draft haul. Whilst many draft writers were excited to see him selected, like Filippo Baresi, who did a scouting report on McDaniels. However, many Hornets fans had a negative impression of the forward due to domestic transgressions.
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Even after a promising Summer League campaign where he flashed a tantalizing combination of physical tools and basketball IQ, a dark cloud continued to hover over the forward’s future with the Hornets. This lingered long past training camp and pre-season; Jalen wasn’t officially signed to his NBA contract until October 21st, 2 days out from the Hornets season opener against the Bulls.
Before we get into any basketball analysis, I want to emphasize something: we at Swarmandsting don’t condone wrongdoings of any Charlotte Hornets player, and that includes Jalen McDaniels. Whether or not you believe McDaniels should still have the opportunity to play in the NBA depends on your own morals and experiences. I sincerely hope the women who were harmed by Jalen’s actions are recovering, and I hope Jalen recognizes his fortune and privilege to play in the NBA and that he takes it upon himself to learn and improve as a person.
Nevertheless, McDaniels was drafted and signed by Charlotte Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak. After signing with the Hornets, McDaniels was quickly assigned to the Charlotte Hornets G League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm.
Despite the Swarm’s disappointing 9-34 record, McDaniels’ successfully turned some of his Summer League flashes into everpresent occurrences. He averaged 15.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game on the Swarm and most promisingly shot a healthy 37.6% from 3 on 3.8 attempts per game; an improvement in both accuracy and volume from his college numbers.
Jalen only played 293 minutes with the parent club in his rookie year, but those limited minutes under James Borrego were filled with intriguing skills. McDaniels impressed JB to the point where McDaniels was the Charlotte Hornets’ first player off the bench throughout late February-early March. Let’s dive into the film.