They trail first place Oklahoma City by 23 games in the Northwest Division; there's no shot at a playoff berth so the Timberwolves are going to use their situation in the standings to their advantage. Minnesota will begin playing for the future by getting a good, long look at rookie point guard Tyus Jones.
The Apple Valley star was one of the Wolves two first-round picks in last June's NBA Draft. Since then, Jones has been used very little, playing in just 11 games while averaging just 3 points and 2 assists a night. Most of Jones' experience comes from practice or for a very short run in the NBA's Developmental League. There, Jones was solid with big numbers and shut-down defense.
Now, with 26 games remaining in their roller coaster season, Wolves coaches see no harm in playing Jones – and the rookie can't wait.
“It’s definitely been a season of learning,” Jones said, according to the Star Tribune. “I’ve learned a lot about game management, how to run the offense. On defense the assignments, where you’re supposed to be when your man has the ball and doesn’t have the ball. Just different small stuff."
Meantime, Tyus' little brother is the big man on campus at Apple Valley. Tre Jones is just a sophomore but he's now carrying the defending champion Eagles.
The Wolves look for their first post All-Star Game win Monday when they host the Boston Celtics at Target Center.