Minnesota Timberwolves Player Review: Jerryd Bayless

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 29: Jerryd Bayless #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 29: Jerryd Bayless #8 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired what seemed to be a throw-in point guard in the Jimmy Butler trade, but Jerryd Bayless ended up playing significant minutes for the Wolves.

When the Minnesota Timberwolves shipped Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia in November, the deal centered around Dario Saric and Robert Covington. Jerryd Bayless was mentioned in the same breath as former first-round pick Justin Patton, who was send to Philly along with Butler — as a throw-in.

After all Bayless was injured and had not appeared in a game for the 76ers this year after only playing in 39 games during the prior season and just three in 2016-17. In fact, Bayless hasn’t played in more than 52 games in a campaign since back in 2014-15, with Milwaukee.

Bayless began his tenure in Minnesota injured and as the fourth point guard. When he was ready to dress, he was often either inactive or receiving a Did Not Play – Coach’s Decision.

But eventually, Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose were both in and out of the lineup due to injury. That meant that Bayless was the top option to back-up Tyus Jones, and in January, Jones himself was injured and missed 14 games. Bayless ended up starting six games during that span.

Overall, Bayless struggled mightily, shooting a career-low (not counting his three-game season) from the field at just 35.7 percent. He also shot just 29.6 percent from beyond the arc, which was Bayless’ worst mark since his rookie season, although he launched 5.1 threes per 36 minutes and had a 3-point rate of .426, which was the third-highest of his career.

Bayless had a span of seven games from Jan. 22 to Feb. 5 in which he averaged 14.1 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game while slashing .374/.388/.667 from the floor. He took on a high-volume role and scored in double-figures in each game, managing to score 19 points in consecutive games.

But the Wolves were just 3-4 during that stretch and struggled mightily on defense with Bayless on the floor. The drop-off from Jones and even Teague to Bayless when it comes to both individual and team defense was significant.

Assuming that Bayless was struggling with nagging injuries again this year and understanding that he simply wasn’t in the lineup consistently and played a variety of roles, it’s fair to say that Bayless still has a role in this league as a solid backup point guard. The issue has always been his availability.

And, to be clear, now that his gigantic contract is expiring — Bayless made $9 million this season — Bayless will never make that much per season again. He will hit free agency just prior to his 31st birthday, and it would be a genuine surprise to see him back with the Wolves.

Next. The Wolves' outlook is similar to the Sixers'.... dark

Minnesota will be busy trying to retain Jones and/or Rose to solidify their backcourt behind starter Jeff Teague, who should be recovered from a bevy of injuries in time for training camp. That means that Bayless’ free agency will be on the back-burner, and it’s likely he ends up as another team’s third-string point guard come fall.