Just like his older brother was, Tre Jones is one of the elite point guard recruits in the nation. He's also his brother's biggest fan – and he wants to see him get more minutes with the Timberwolves, joining the #FreeTyus movement on Twitter.
Fun fact: In limited minutes this season, Jones leads the Timberwolves in plus/minus, at +43.
The older Jones, Tyus, who can't legally drink until May 10, took advantage of his time in Minnesota's 104-101 win over the Clippers Thursday night, finishing with 4 points and 4 assists in 12 minutes – a lot of it in the fourth quarter while playing alongside rookie first-round pick, Kris Dunn.
Thibodeau went with Jones and Dunn to match up with the four guards the Clippers had in their small-ball rotation. Thibs is on record saying he's aware that the Wolves seem to play well every time Jones plays, but his minutes are limited because Ricky Rubio and Dunn each need minutes – and he hinted Thursday night that Jones' defense needs to get better.
"His unique skill set, in terms of how he can score and how quickly he can get his shots off. He got going a little bit with his left-hand jump hook, and then he mixed in some drives, he ran the floor, and there were some drop offs, some offensive rebounds. He did a lot of stuff. I think you saw the full gamut offensively ... we're expecting to see that defensively," Thibodeau said of Jones.
Wolves analyst Jim Petersen praised Jones for bringing a calming influence to the court in a clutch situation.
"That's something I pride myself on," Jones told Wolves Radio. "The point guard has to be an extension of the coach out there and they gotta bring a calming factor to the game. So when you're calm and poised – don't show you're rattled – it rubs off on everyone else. It lets everyone else take a deep breath."
Unless Rubio gets traded, which could happen before the Feb. 23 trade deadline, Jones will likely remain in a limited role. But the #FreeTyus momentum is for real.
Meanwhile, Tre Jones might in the NBA someday, too. You can watch him play Friday night when Apple Valley (10-2) takes on Farmington (6-5).