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.