What’s up everybody and welcome to another edition of “Making the Leap,” a series in which I look at players that might be looking to take their game to the next level. Today will be talking about a rookie on the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tyus Jones.
Following a great high school career, Tyus Jones had a successful freshman year at Duke University. He was named All-ACC Third team, All-Freshman Team, was named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and he won the Nationa Title.
Jones then decided to forgo his final three eligible years and enter the 2015 NBA Draft. He was selected 24th overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who then traded him to his hometown team the Minnesota Timberwolves just minutes after being drafted.
His rookie year was nothing special. Jones started off the season fourth in the depth chart behind Ricky Rubio, Zach LaVine and Andre Miller for point guard minutes. He was inactive on opening night and had multiple stints in the D-League with the Idaho Stampede. Towards the end of the year when Miller was gone and injuries piled up, he started to receive a little more playing time.
Tyus Jones 2015-2016 regular season averages: 4.2 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 0.8 steals while shooting 35.9% from the field (including 30.2% from three). Played in 37 games and started in none of them.
This was a season to forget for Jones, who found himself riding the bench for most of the year. However, there was one positive outlook on this season. Once the Timberwolves bought-out the contracts of Kevin Martin and Andre Miller that opened the door for Jones, as far as playing time goes. Once they were gone after the All-Star break, Jones’ minutes went up significantly including a career high 26 minutes in the season finale.
Now we look at the upcoming year. Tyus Jones will have a big role for the T’Wolves this offseason when the team plays in the summer league in Las Vegas. Over there he’ll work on his improvement of the offensive and defensive side of the ball. If he can improve his assist-to-turnover ratio and shot selection he will have a big impact with the Wolves this season. Now will he start or come off the bench?
That now depends on what the team decides to do with both Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine. Rubio has recently stated his frustrations with the organization and might be looking to be dealt this summer. This also is not the first time we have heard of Rubio in trade talks and it looks like it might be finally time to see him gone in Minnesota. LaVine however is a different story. He is not going anywhere but the question is he a point guard or shooting guard? LaVine has bounced from both spots and it may continue that way this year.
Bottom line Tyus Jones had a rough rookie season. In the end, he has had success in the past and he is capable of doing that in the pros, regardless of what happens with Rubio, Jones will have a bigger role and impact with the Minnesota Timberwolves.Whether it is with the first or second team remains to be seen.