Minnesota Timberwolves: Recent history of player development failings

Deputy Commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Deputy Commissioner of the NBA Mark Tatum (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MARCH 10: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 and Tyus Jones #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2015 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones

The best draft in recent Wolves history brought two players many would consider cornerstones to the team today.

Towns, of course, is already a two-time All-Star, while Jones’ leadership of the second unit continually garners calls for him to start.

Towns is the kind of talent that one could expect to put up 20 points a night with no direction at all, and he’s made clear progress each year in the league, with the majority of his improvements in the current season coming on the defensive end of the floor.

Due to differences in his minutes per game, I decided to analyze Towns’ stats ‘per 36 minutes’, where it’s easy to see this season has been his best in terms of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and even his defensive rating has improved.

Towns certainly hasn’t seemed to struggle greatly with his development, outside of it taking a few years to clearly improve in handling double-teams and defensive rotations.

Jones, on the other hand, is an interesting case. Many, including myself, would argue that Jones has been the most dominant leader yet in his career this season, however his individual stats have fallen. Jones has seen a dip in his points, assists, steals and rebounds per 36 minutes in comparison with other seasons, but thankfully Jones’ real talent is improving the game of everyone around him while he’s on the court.

However, Jones’ Player Efficieny Rating, Box Plus/Minus and Value Over Replacement Player have all taken a hit this season as well, according to Basketball-Reference, so perhaps we’re all just suffering from Teague fatigue…