Dunking With Wolves continues our review of each of the Timberwolves’ players on the current roster with a look at Minnesota native and backup point guard Tyus Jones.
With all of the focus on the new shiny draft pick (Kris Dunn, of course), Tyus Jones flew under the radar all year long.
The Apple Valley, Minnesota product was a star prospect coming out of high school, but can he become a steady player in the NBA?
The top colleges looked at the point guard as he was playing at an elite level as a prep player. Jones went to Duke University and proved himself at the highest level of college ball, eventually flourishing on the biggest stage: the NCAA National Championship Game. Jones came up huge in the win over Wisconsin, scoring a game-high 23 points.
After raising his stock throughout the March Madness tournament, Jones was solidify being a first round draft pick status. He was taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers 24th overall and immediately shipped to his hometown team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In year one with Minnesota, Tyus Jones appeared in 37 games and played a deep reserve role. Jones went down to the D-League and excelled, showing that he was too good for that, but just not ready to have a huge role in the NBA yet. He was able to get a lot more minutes towards the end of the season due to the Timberwolves being eliminated from the playoffs pretty early on.
In year two, Jones was ready to play more. But Minnesota took Kris Dunn with the fifth-overall pick — a point guard out of Providence. Although a rookie, Dunn was thought to be possibly the most NBA ready player in the lottery, meaning he might snatch a lot of the backup point guard minutes and quite possibly becoming the starter.
Even though that was the thought going into the season, one could argue that Dunn and Jones played at the same level if we were looking at a perspective of the entire year. While looking at a statistical point of view, Jones basically had the same year he had his rookie season.
Year 1 – 15.5 per game
Year 2 – 12.9 per game
Year 1 – 4.2 per game
Year 2 – 3.5 per game
Year 1 – 2.9 per game
Year 2 – 2.6 per game
Field goal percentage:
Year 1 – 35.6%
Year 2 – 41.4%
Year 1 – 30.2%
Year 2 – 35.6%
Free throw percentage:
Year 1 – 71.8%
Year 2 – 76.7%
One good thing to take away from his stats were that although the numbers casual fans look at basically plateaued, all of his shooting percentages went up, making him a little bit more efficient overall.
Jones only eclipsed the 10-point mark five times in 2016-17, but while using the eye test, he certainly looked more poised with the ball in his hands. Just like Dunn, Jones appeared to play a little better with another point guard on the floor with him at the same time.
In the last game of the year, Tyus Jones showed his efficiency off in a 28 minute appearance, scoring 17 points. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and hit three three-pointers. He also dished out seven assists and grabbed four rebounds.
While the pick of Kris Dunn was a huge disappointment (at least in regards to developing Tyus Jones), he still has a real chance to contribute to the team – especially because of the bad play from Dunn during his rookie year.
With the entire bench being awful, Jones has a chance to make a name for himself on the NBA level. He will need to be able to do one of two things next year if he wants to keep playing professionally.
- Score more- such a simple thing to say, but Jones needs to develop more ways to put the ball in the bucket
- Become the bench operator- if Jones is unable to become a decent scorer, he will need to up his play as the floor general.
Stay tuned as we round out the player reviews from the 2016-17 over the coming days and weeks.