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NBA: The Minnesota Timberwolves' guard conundrum

Ranga Bhave
ANALYST
Feature
303   //    24 Dec 2018, 12:02 IST

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers

Other than the Boston Celtics, there's been no team that's had more ups and downs this season than the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota has had a seven-game win streak and somehow also holds a truly saddening road record of 2-13 - the worst amongst the Western Conference behemoths.

The Wolves have had some games slip from their fingers, such as the 129-123 OT loss to the Pistons last week and some absolute humdingers, such as the 124-98 blowout loss to the vengeful Spurs - also last week.

That loss happened when both Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague were injured, however, they were still on the injury list when the Wolves won against the first seeded Thunder.

The team has had a bunch of problems - too often has it let opposing teams gobble up offensive rebounds, as evidenced by Drummond getting the putback shot off a rebound in the final quarter of the Pistons game. But none of their problems are as perennial and as frustrating as their starting point guard position.

Minnesota is playing a game of Tetris. They've got a square to fill, but they've got a triangle, a circle and a square that is too big (Tyus Jones, Teague and Rose).

Tyus Jones

Tyus Jones
Tyus Jones

Tyus Jones, for whatever reason, has dedicated almost his entire game to facilitating others. He is too humble, one might say, while looking for shots for Towns, Rose and Wiggins and not racking up enough shots to be a constant problem for opposing point guards.

It has become enough of an issue where Jones' man will regularly sag off him to double-team Rose or Wiggins off the stretch - on the basis that Jones will not look for his own shot.

This season, he's experiencing a severe shot slump, as his FGA has dropped from 46% to 40% and his 3PT percentage has dropped even more drastically (for a point guard) from 34.9% to a mere 26.9%.

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His defensive instincts are good, and at that end, he's a good fit for the first team, but he's still a few seasons from being a starter.

In fact, with Thibs in the hot seat for both his head coach and president of basketball operations jobs and the suddenly crowded backcourt issues, Tyus Jones may be moved to some teams that have a dearth of a young, defensive-minded, offensive facilitator - like the Phoenix Suns, with their core of Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton.

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