As of late, the Charlotte Hornets have had a number of players on the roster step up following injuries to key players. One player that has surprised many has been Jalen McDaniels. After barely seeing any playing time for most of the season, McDaniels has already proved he’s improved in many areas.
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McDaniels has been the team’s starting small forward for the past seven games, where he’s averaged 14.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game. He’s also made thirteen shots from behind the arc in those seven.
His numbers as of late have been some of the best in his career. While he’s not been able to get into this rhythm all season because of limited playing time, McDaniels has proved to coach James Borrego what he is capable of.
McDaniels has shown the coaching staff that he knows how to get out in transition and finish well through contact around the rim. He’s also been a reliable three-point shooter when the Hornets get the ball to him.
A lot of what McDaniels has done this season will make Borrego make some difficult decisions once the roster is healthy. By May, the Hornets should have Gordon Hayward and Malik Monk back.
Hayward is clearly going to get his starting job back, so McDaniels will likely move back to the bench. Needless to say, the Hornets bench could look to him to significantly improve their bench production when the team is fully healthy.
Borrego has many combinations he can work with now that McDaniels has proven to be a reliable scorer.
While the rash of injuries may have been unfortunate for a Charlotte team that was having a surprisingly great season, McDaniels has stepped up and shown that he can be a reliable piece in the long-term future of the franchise.