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:
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.