Draft night recap: Wolves select Towns, trade up for Tyus Jones

Apple Valley senior point guard Tyus Jones, the Pioneer Press boys' basketball player of the year, juggles basketballs at his school on Tuesday, March 4, 2014.  (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

Apple Valley senior point guard Tyus Jones, the Pioneer Press boys’ basketball player of the year, juggles basketballs at his school on Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)


Well, then.

It was quite a night for Minnesota basketball fans. Not only did the Timberwolves select a potential franchise center with the first overall pick, they also traded up (from the 31st and 36th selections) to 24th in order to select one of the best prep players the state has ever produced, Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones.

During his time as a prep star with the Eagles, Tyus was ranked as a top-10 recruit by every major scouting service in the country, won a state title (2013), and was named the Minnesota Associated Press Boys Basketball Player of the Year three times. He chose to attend Duke University as part of a package deal with Jahlil Okafor (who wound up going third overall to the Philadelphia 76ers). The 6’1, 190 pound Jones averaged 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game on 58% True Shooting for the National Champion Duke Blue Devils, and shortly after the tournament concluded, he declared for the Draft.

He was projected as a mid-1st round pick, with teams like Houston (18th), Toronto (20th) and Dallas (21st) rumored to like him. But all three of them ultimately passed, and when Jones slipped all the way to Cleveland at 24th, Flip made his move.

Tyus Jones fills a positional need for the Wolves – they lack a true backup point guard – and the human interest side of things ought to drive up ticket sales. It’s easy to see why the front office greenlit the move, especially considering the relatively low price they paid.

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9 Responsesso far.

  1. Ned says:

    So much talent and potential… I am rendered speechless.

  2. Uglyfunk says:

    Love it, Love it, Love it…grabbed Towns and got what should be a competent floor general when Rubio takes a breather. Kudos Saunders. I really hope at the player introductions you lean into the microphone and only say “yep”…then grab that mic and drop it

  3. farnorth says:

    That to me is 3 for 3 for Flip, three drafts and nailed them all. What a nice change of pace 🙂

    Man I have never looked forward to summer league before. Now I cannot wait!!

  4. gjk says:

    Nice player, ugh for all the Rubio Haters he’s going to generate if he’s competent. The draft supposedly was weak in the 2nd round, so moving up was good, even if I preferred RJ Hunter’s shooting potential and avoiding the #oneofus circus from people who don’t understand what a good pro basketball player looks like.

    • Uglyfunk says:

      Oh c’mon….Sam Jacobson, John Thomas & Trevor Winter lit it up in a Wolves uni after being one of us in Minnesota. Oh wait…..

      I’ll never forget Garnett’s face when Sam Jacobson first came back to Minnesota as a Laker off the bench. Everyone cheered and Garnett looked confused and disgusted all at once. He kept pointing at his jersey and I have to agree with KG on this one. I was like…if it were McHale I can understand, but Sam f’n Jacobson? Haha

  5. Mebert says:

    Awesome draft. No complaints can be made here.

  6. seanie blue says:

    Now if only this team could hire a head coach, it might make sense to talk playoffs. We’ll still be lucky if Rubio plays two-thirds of the games and we win 40. With good coaching, this team could add five wins.

  7. pyrrol says:

    Flip has done a good job as GM on draft night, yet something about him makes me NERVOUS. I couldn’t relax even after Towns was picked. I think it’s finally sunk in now though, and it feels good.

    The Tyus thing is fun. I was hoping Flip would package the two 2nd round picks and move up to grab either a back-up point guard or ‘some shooting’. He filled a need and got a hometown guy, which is nice for the fans. I was sort of curious, like gjk, about RJ Hunter. Simply put, though, neither he nor Tyus really have NBA bodies or athletic ability… at least on paper now. My reaction to picking Tyus was a quiet groan induced by the hometown/college champion expectations versus the reality that he might not be much of an NBA player, even on the bench, quieted by guilt. He’s a great kid, and anywhere he went, I’d cheer for him, and more because we drafted him too. My expectations are cautiously low at this point and hopefully he can become a really good backup point guard for us.

    Overall, a great draft. People talked like Towns was Mr. Upside, Russell was Mr. Could be a Star, and Okafor was Mr, Sure Thing. I think Towns could be a star as much as Russell could be, and is more of a sure thing than Russell, yet has more versatility and areas to grow than Okafor. Russell is skilled and has a great instinct for the game (although not that athletic) but it’s so hard to tell how transferable his skills really will be to the NBA. Okafor has been a low post man child prodigy for years, but hasn’t evolved. Towns has evolved–gained new skills, filled a variety of needed roles, grown into his body, and gotten into really good condition. He also has clearly transferable NBA attributes. 6’11” guys who can run, move, jump and have the skills and feel that he already has generally find a good place in the NBA. I think this was a pretty good year to get the #1 pick.

  8. seanie blue says:

    95 out of 100 readers of this column would have chosen KAT. It’s great to see we get TJ here. Give Flip credit on TJ, but 50 out of 100 readers could have handled that, too. We still need a coach who plays the latest edition of NBA. Why doesn’t Flip go out and hire somebody who plays the way basketball will be played in the future instead of how it was played in 1996? I want to see what happens when Bjelica comes over and joins a crew that realizes you have to stop the opponent. It’s great to have talent, but it won’t get us 40 wins. A tough defense in a modern system might get us winning as early as next year!

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