Assessing Jaden McDaniels and Isaiah Stewart

November 9th, 2019

by Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Jaden McDaniels, Isaiah Stewart, and the Washington Huskies play against the Baylor Bears in the Armed Forces Classic that took place on November 8th yesterday. Baylor had lead for most of the game, and the first half was actually kind of underwhelming. But then, McDaniels, Stewart, and other players on Washington picked things up as they started playing much better in the second half, and the Huskies were able to get a come from behind victory to open their season. Here are my thoughts on how McDaniels and Stewart played, as well as how various prospects’ games may translate to the NBA.

Jaden McDaniels showed off solid all-around skills to lead Washington to a win over Baylor in the Armed Forces Classic.  (Photo: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press via The Washington Post.)
Jaden McDaniels showed off solid all-around skills to lead Washington to a win over Baylor in the Armed Forces Classic. (Photo: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press via The Washington Post.)

Washington’s 6-9 freshman forward, Jaden McDaniels played very well, as he showed off solid all-around skills and versatility to help lead his team to a comeback win over Baylor.

McDaniels did a good job of getting scores off the dribble. He was able to use a hesitation and a spin move going left to score off of a nifty drive, and he also utilized a behind the back dribble move going right to score quickly on a floater on the break another time.

He also showed a fairly good ability to knock down jumpers. McDaniels handles the ball well, and he can calmly make pull-up, mid-range jumpers effortlessly, and he also ran off the ball to make an open, spot-up three off the catch. He also dribbled in to score with his right hand off the glass from the post another time, and he also did a very good job of drawing free throws after getting offensive rebounds.  However, he would not always finish plays in traffic, and he also missed a couple of jump shots in this game.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. McDaniels is an unselfish player that handles the ball well, as he will dribble in to find players on the move to set up scores for them, and he also can throw accurate passes out of the post, but sometimes, he can be careless with the basketball.  This can lead him to being turnover prone. He had received an inaccurate pass after getting the ball off of a cut, and hastily threw a pass that ended up being intercepted. He also was called for a clear out foul after lowering a should to inadvertently push an opponent down on a drive, and he also was called for traveling on a separate play.

He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball. McDaniels would leap up to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he also managed to get an impressive one-handed board once. Sometimes, he would push the ball up the floor to create transition-scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.

Plus, he also played solid defense. McDaniels is a tall, athletic combo forward that would tend to make solid rotations, as he would rotate to alter shots on drives to force misses. Plus, he also can poke balls away to force opponents to commit turnovers, and McDaniels is an active, rangy help defender that can get plenty of stops to help his team.  However, he tends to be foul prone, as he can be too aggressive in guarding his man, and he also trailed his man on a cut to allow a score another time.

In general, Jaden McDaniels is a talented, versatile player that can help his team in many different facets of the game, and he could end up being one of the best players to come out of the 2020 draft class. He could be a potential top 5 pick in the upcoming draft, and he has the skills to end up being a solid player similar to former Los Angeles Lakers’ forward, Lamar Odom in the NBA.

Washington's freshman forward, Isaiah Stewart played very well down the stretch in the second half to lead his team to a win over Baylor.  (Photo: Lance King/Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.)
Washington’s freshman forward, Isaiah Stewart played very well down the stretch in the second half to lead his team to a win over Baylor. (Photo: Lance King/Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.)

Washington’s 6-9 freshman big man, Isiaah Stewart put forth a fairly good performance in his team’s win over Baylor. Stewart had gotten off to a slow start early on, as he struggled to consistently make jumpers, and he was fairly turnover prone in this game, but in the second half, he excelled at scoring in the paint, and he also made solid passes and defensive plays to help get his team the come from behind victory.

Stewart did a good job of scoring in the post. He has great strength to back his man down and the shooting touch to frequently score on right-handed jump hooks, and he also used a drop step to score on a powerful dunk another time. Plus, he also used an overhead ball fake as he used solid footwork to score on a nifty up and under move. He did miss early on, but he was able to score much more often down the stretch.

He also was able to score on a strong put back while getting an extra free throw after getting an offensive rebound for his team. However, he also missed on a couple of tip-ins, and he also failed to connect on jumpers from outside of the paint area.

Also, he displayed fairly average playmaking skills. Stewart can throw solid, long interior passes, and he also was able to pass out of the post to notch an assist once.  On the other hand, he can inaccurate on his passes, and he also doesn’t always seal off his man to be able to get the ball, which lead his teammates to throw passing turnovers. He also was caught lowering his shoulder when trying to score in the post, which led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover on a separate possession.

He also showed an adequate ability to rebound the basketball. Stewart was active at crashing the glass to get offensive boards, and he also leapt up to get his fair share of defensive rebounds as well.

Stewart also played good defense. He would rotate to block and alter shots in the post due to possessing good timing and subtly good leaping skills, and he also would contest shots in the paint to force misses. He has good strength to hold his ground when defending in the post, and he also was able to poke a ball away and deflect pass to nearly force turnovers. However, sometimes his lack of length would leave him prone to allowing scores in the post on occasion, and he also tended to commit fouls inside. In addition, sometimes he would be late to contest shots in the paint, which would cause him to allow opponents to score on those shots.

In summary, Isaiah Stewart is a talented big man that can score, pass, and defend when he is out on the court, and he made solid plays down the stretch to help get his team the victory over Baylor. There are some concerns of about him, though. He is a slightly undersized big man that tended to play below the rim, though he was able to make a few explosive plays, as he threw down a dunk and blocked shots late in the game. Stewart also didn’t show much of a jump shot from outside of the paint area, though he did make the only free throw he took. Right now, Stewart will need to consistently make shots from outside of the paint area and show that he can play well against upper echelon athletes, but even still, he is a productive big man that could go in the mid first round, as he could end up being a similar player to Los Angeles Clippers’ forward, Patrick Patterson in the NBA.

Washington’s 6-6 junior swingman, Nahziah Carter had a solid showing in his team’s win over Baylor. He is an athletic player that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also defended well when he was on the court. He did struggle with turnovers on offense, but he excelled at making plays when his team needed him in this game.

Carter did a very good job of making open, spot-up threes off the catch. He is a good shooter that excelled at making shots when given the time and space to do so. He also was open around the basket, as he was able to score on a powerful dunk. He also managed to make a pull-up mid-range jumper, and he also used a quick jab step to draw free throws on aggressive drive to the hoop. However, Carter also had a tendency to miss on wild, left-handed drives on the break in traffic, as he would tend to rush his shots too quickly, leading to misses.

He also was turnover prone on offense. He struggled to consistently make plays off the dribble, as he was called for traveling a couple of times, he had the ball ripped away from him once, and he also was called for a charging foul another time. He was able to kick a ball out to a shooter to set up a scoring chance once, but he also threw a ball that was intercepted by a defender on a separate offensive possession.

Also, Carter did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he played decent defense. He would chase down balls to get boards for his team, and he would poke balls away to get steals. Plus, he also was able to deflect a pass, and he also contested shots inside to force misses, but sometimes, he would be out of position, which allowed opponents to score on three-point shots.

Overall, Carter is an athletic swingman that can shoot and defend, and he may project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA. He will need to improve his ball handling and be more of a consistent player in games, but he is a second round prospect that could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Fresh off of a 30-point performance in his team’s win over Central Arkansas, Baylor’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Jared Butler continued to shoot the basketball well. He excelled at making spot-up threes and shots off the dribble. Butler used a pump fake to score on a corner three once, and he also drove in to score on a floater another time, as he is a crafty player that can make shots.

Overall, Butler is a scorer that can shoot the basketball, and he is an above average athlete that can find ways to get to where he needs on the floor. He is a subtly smooth scorer that showed solid effectiveness on offense. He will need to improve his playmaking skills, but he is a player that can quietly put up a lot of points, and he could end up being a similar player to former Sacramento Kings guard, Marcus Thornton in the NBA.

Baylor’s 6-3 junior guard, MaCio Teague started off playing well, as he was able to make a couple of spot-up threes, and he would find open shooters to collect assists. He also managed to make a turnaround, mid-range jumper. However, he struggled to make shots down the stretch, and he seemed to fade into the background in the second half. Right now, Teague may be a borderline second round prospect, as he is a playmaker that could make an NBA team’s summer league roster sometime down the road.

Baylor’s 6-5 junior swingman, Mark Vital looked to be the most athletic player on his own team, as he would score on hustle plays. He scored on a thunderous dunk off of a quick drive on the break, and he also scored on an agile cut to the hoop.

Vital also played solid defense. Plus, he also flew in to make a chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring on the break once, and Vital also intercepted a pass to get a steal. Plus, he also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive late in the game.

However, Vital struggled to make shots as the game wore on, and he ended up scoring just eight points on ten shots that he took against Washington. Overall, Vital is an athletic, high-motor player that can make energetic plays on both ends of the floor. He will need to improve his jump shot, but he may be a player to watch, as he could potentially develop into a defensive specialist type along the lines of an Adrian Griffin type in the NBA.

Washington’s starting point guard, Quade Green made a turnaround fadeaway jumper early off the dribble, and he also would find open shooters to get assists, but he put forth an uneven performance in his team’s win over Baylor.

Green struggled to make shots off the dribble or to knock down jumpers from the field, and he also tended to be inaccurate on his passes that led to turnovers. He also was out of control on a drive that led him to commit an offensive foul. Green did defend fairly well, as he was able to jump on a loose ball to help get his team a steal, and he also fought through a screen quickly to stay with his man off the ball. However, he also bit on a pump fake another time, which led him to foul an opposing ball handler.

Overall, Green is a talented playmaker that can shoot and pass the basketball. He will need to be a more consistent player in games, but he is a second round prospect that could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.