2016-17 Roster Review: Tyus Jones

Finding your first job out of college can be tough. Finding your dream job out of college, all while staying in your hometown is near impossible. Most people have to take on internships, work jobs all around the country, and pay their dues before they’re able to land a job close to where they grew up.

Tyus Jones got lucky, in that sense. He could have been picked anywhere a couple years ago, but Flip Saunders (whether it was for basketball, nostalgia-related reasoning, or some combo of the two) decided to give Tyus Jones his dream job out of college.

But like any youngster who lands a big job close to home, he still had to prove himself out of college. In his rookie season, his playing time was sparce. He only saw the floor 37 times, and in those game his percentages weren’t great.

But last season, Tyus Jones proved he could play. It’s currently hard to see a full-time role for Jones in Minnesota at this point, but his sophomore season may have given him all the ammo he needs to make some (not tons, but some) money on his next contract.

He did so by becoming a reliable scorer and facilitator on the offensive end, and improved immensely as a team defender from year 1 to year 2.

Here are just a couple differences:

Season GP Minutes FG/3PT% PER TS%
2015-16 37 15.5 .359/.302 11.2 .450
2016-17 60 12.9 .414/.356 13.8 .523

Technically, the minutes went down, but the frequency that Thibodeau used Tyus was higher. For a stretch, Thibs used Jones almost like a major league manager uses a closer. He had a couple good fourth quarters (and only fourth quarters) in a row, and that turned into a brief role for him.

Eventually, there was an injury to Zach LaVine, and a lack of options at the 2 forced Dunn and Jones to play together. From Feb. 6 on, Jones finally got his first dose of consistent minutes (somewhat…his minutes varied a lot, going from 8-37. But, he played), playing lots with Kris Dunn in the backcourt, who is still trying to figure out his identity offensively.

His shooting numbers fell a bit with the daily dose of minutes, but he seemed to fit in for the most part against NBA backups. Even on nights when his scoring wasn’t there, his assist numbers were always good. The lost minutes never took his ability to run an offense from like the classically trained point guard that he is.

It’s unclear what Jones’ future holds, and whether he will keep his dream job, playing for the team he watched growing up in Apple Valley. He has one more year on his contract before the Wolves have a team option. Fortunately for him, even if the Wolves decide that he isn’t worth holding onto, he’s likely played  well enough to get a contract from another NBA team somewhere.

Unlike most people who fall into their dream job right out of college, the NBA isn’t one where you often keep it. But the dream of the job is playing in the NBA, not necessarily for the Timberwolves. Tyus’ ‘Sota ties brought him to the Wolves with more doubters than the average late first rounder. On that front, he had more to deal with to get where he’s at. He’s earned his dream job, no matter where it ends up taking him.

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3 Responsesso far.

  1. tom says:

    Tyus gave Thibs the one thing he needed to give, make looking for a cheap back-up PG (Lucas) a waste of time and money. Tyus has the best looking shooting stroke of our PG. He is better than Ricky and crazily Dunn at getting contact and putting a shot up at the rim. His defense has flashes of reading an opposing offense and cutting into the passing lane. He is a prototypical back up PG in the league.

    He will get paid at some point at the back-up PG rate and that may be from someone other than the Wolves. I could see him rejoining Okafor in Philly or maybe backing up Kyrie or Wall in the east. His lot in life will be decided at the end of next year. If Dunn becomes a starter (seems ridiculous to say that now), trading Rubio would be good move to add pieces to the puzzle and Tyus becomes the back-up. If Dunn is never going to become a starting PG, he will be a defensive stopper at either guard and that could match well with Tyus as the point for that second unit.

    If we draft a PG because we win the lottery and PG is clearly the best talent in this year’s draft, then I don’t know what Thibs will do with the log jam at PG, but Tyus will not be a DNP-CD most of the year because the kid is smart and pretty relaxed under pressure and will not garner as much in a trade as Rubio.

    Flip probably shouldn’t have given up a pick to get Tyus, but the kid sure hasn’t been a bust for a late pick.

  2. gjk says:

    He can move the ball well and make an open shot. It’s nice to have those things. He’s also a shining example of MN provincialism, which makes me like him less than I probably should because so many people overrate him. I highly doubt any other franchise sells as many jerseys/shirseys of guys averaging < 4 ppg.

  3. pyrrol says:

    I did an opposite gjk on this. I rolled my eyes when we picked Tyus. Both because it’s provincial and I didn’t think he was going to be an NBA player. But funny how having no one who can play back up PG with any competence gets you to like a guy… Funny how a #5 pick PG failing totally all year to play his position with even basic correctness makes you appreciate a guy people looked down on coming into the NBA who has a natural feel for his position. We flat out needed a back up PG who can run an offense and Tyus was there when we needed him (and was ready to handle much more than we gave him). I like Tyus now. He’s not some great player, but to quote our coach, ‘He does his job.’

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