Tyus Jones Made NBA History In 2018-19, Now What's Next For His Game?
As we recap the 2018-19 Timberwolves season, our Kyle Ratke and Julian Andrews will be taking a look at each player on the roster and how we'll remember their season. We continue with point guard Tyus Jones.
KR: Tyus Jones grew as a player in 2018-19, his fourth season as a pro.
Jones set the NBA record with a 6.9-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. That pretty much defines Jones’ game. He’s a smart player who is going to make sure his team gets a shot off on every possession. It might not sound like much, but that’s a really important thing!
Jones is a floor general who will make smart plays. When Jones is on the court, you feel safe about him having the ball in his hands. And while he’s not the most-athletic player defensively, he knows how to play team defense. He’s pretty underrated on that end of the court. Throughout his career, he’s averaged 2.1 assists per 36 minutes.
Last season, we saw Jones set career highs in points, assists, and rebounds per game. Through the first three years of his career, the challenge for Jones was to get consistent playing time. He got that this season, averaging a career-high 22.9 minutes per game.
As Jones enters the offseason, there are some things to work on. After shooting a solid 45.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from the 3-point line in 2017-18, Jones saw those numbers dip last season to 41.5 and 31.7 percent, respectively.
That will have to be a focus this offseason. If Jones can increase those numbers, he’ll continue to prove that he’s more than just a spot-starter at point guard.
It’s worth noting Jones has a great relationship with coach Ryan Saunders, as well as Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop.
JA: Jones is the type of player who seems like he will always have fans in people who really know basketball. His style of play isn’t flashy and his stats don’t jump off the page, but Jones’ calm command over the game will always be a huge benefit to his team.
Last year was a good one for Jones. He got to start 23 games because of injuries to Jeff Teague and he showed in those games how much of a luxury he was for the Wolves’ bench. In starts, Jones averaged 10.8 points, 7.5 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game while shooting 44.6 from the floor and 32.8 percent from three. Again, those aren’t crazy numbers, but his ability to run the team effectively was key.
There’s a lot of talk about Jones’ assist-to-turnover ratio. While that stat in and of itself can be misleading, there’s no doubt that Jones is very comfortable handling the ball. Not only does Jones not throw passes that are picked off, but he doesn’t turn the ball over on dribble-drives or in transition either. Being a good point guard is about more than just passing, it’s about manipulating your opponents’ positions on the floor to get your teammates good looks. Jones is very good at that aspect of the game.
As Kyle mentioned, the biggest task for Jones going forward is going to be developing his three-point shooting. He has the shot mechanics and he’s a good free-throw shooter, but he needs to keep working to extend his range.
Jones will be a good NBA player for a long time and he’s the kind of player who will always have a ton of friends in the locker room. He’s also only 23 still! There’s a lot of potential still for the young floor general.