Minnesota Timberwolves Must Land Tyus Jones at the NBA Trade Deadline

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

When is the NBA trade deadline, you ask? Well, it’s coming up actually, just a mere three weeks from now, on February 8. Will the (28-11) Minnesota Timberwolves make any moves before then, you ask? As a matter of fact, it is believed they will.

Related: Where the Minnesota Timberwolves Stand in Latest NBA Power Rankings

Pressure is on PoBO Tim Connelly

This is a Wolves roster that appears talented, even primed for a Western Conference playoff run the likes of which we have not seen since 2003-04. That’s why, given the offseason luxury tax uncertainty awaiting the Timberwolves front office six months from now, there will be a ton of pressure (likely from ownership directly) on president of basketball operations Tim Connelly to make whatever deadline moves necessary in order to push this 2023-24 squad to its full potential.

So where/who will the Wolves look to add? Well first, let’s ponder what exactly a perfect trade deadline acquisition might look like. This is already a historically good Wolves roster so it has to be the right piece.

What do the Minnesota Timberwolves need most?

They don’t need any stars or heavy-usage players. With that said, any logical addition has to be legitimately capable of cracking a regular rotation laced with dudes like Naz Reid, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kyle Anderson, who are all capable of providing big time minutes on both sides of the floor, any given night.

So, where is the weakest spot on the 2023-24 Minnesota Timberwolves depth chart? When Connelly looks to improve the roster, it probably starts with a ball-handling, pass-first point guard who will take care of the rock and operate Chris Finch’s offense efficiently for the 2nd team.

Mike Conley is the starter and the Wolves are not looking to supplant him. They want someone they can trust behind Mike, should he get hurt or start to show his age (36). Now, if the Wolves can find a pass-first ball-handling PG who can also knock down 3’s at a high rate… then dammit, you’d have darn-near the perfect addition to this Timberwolves roster.

Related: Wizards are Shopping Tyus Jones and Timberwolves Have Legit Interest

Jordan McLaughlin has been pretty good in that role, since coming back from injury, but on a really good team, depth at PG and lack of sharpshooting from three point land remain the roster’s two biggest weak spots.

Then of course, any acquisition has to be a good fit for the organization and locker room. No matter the talent, the intangibles have to fit too. So with all that in mind, let’s look to the trade market. What names/skillsets stick out?

The Perfect Trade Deadline Acquisition: Tyus Jones

If you’re screaming at your screen, “TYUS JONES!”, then you nailed it. There is one very available option that seems like a more perfect fit than all others. If Tim Connelly and Wolves ownership wants a trade deadline acquisition that hits on every single level possible, the answer is Tyus Jones.

Not only is he a local sports hero, who remains extremely connected to the Twin Cities community, but the basketball fit is more perfect than any other deal they could make.

Tyus is from Apple Valley, a 20-minute to 2.5-hour commute (depending on traffic) to downtown Minneapolis, where Wolves facilities are. The now 27-year-old Jones was drafted by Flip Saunders in 2015 and played four seasons with the Timberwolves, before he walked to Memphis in free agency for more money in 2019.

Perfect basketball fit

Since then, Tyus Jones has blossomed into one of the best fringe starting point guards in the NBA. He remains one of the most responsible point guards in the NBA, only committing 0.8 turnovers per game. He’s never had a season where he’s averaged over 0.9 turnovers per game.

Oh, and remember that added bonus if the Wolves can find a ball-handler who can also shoot? Jones is shooting a career high 42% from deep this season and that’s not due to a decrease in attempts (3.8 per game).

Related: Minnesota Timberwolves Contracts and Salary Cap 2023-24

From his rookie year in 2016 through the 2020-21 (6 seasons), Jones averaged just 1.7 three-pointers per game, converting 34% in that span. In the three seasons since (2021-2024), Tyus is shooting 3.5 deep balls per game, a 106% increase which has led to a boost in accuracy all the way to 39%.

Jones’ fit goes way beyond basketball

If Tim Connelly wants to take advantage of the current good favor he is in with the Wolves fanbase, he will find a way to get Tyus Jones back into a Timberwolves uniform. Decision makers in professional sports make fanbase pleasing moves all the time.

The Wizards are selling off whatever asset possible before the deadline so Jones’ availability won’t be a problem. He will, however, have other suitors so we’ll see if the Timberwolves are willing to depart with what it takes to get the deal done. But Sam Vecini (The Athletic) agrees that Tyus Jones fits what the Wolves need like a glove and listed them as a possible landing spot for the Minnesota native in his 2024 NBA Trade Deadline big board.

I don’t think the Wizards are likely to get a first-round pick for him alone. His contract is not extendable, as he only signed a two-year deal back in 2022. But perhaps his expiring contract and utility make him valuable to playoff teams willing to attach a first-round pick or other future assets of equivalent value to offload a longer-term deal.

Sam Vecenie – The Athletic

Why not? At the end of the day, the fans overall opinion of you plays a large part into how the owner feels about your employment, too. So if an acquisition at any level of the organization earns you brownie points with the fanbase, it’s worth investigating.

Related: Timberwolves Loss vs Celtics Proved They Belong in NBA Finals Conversation

As long as the #1 determining factor for Connelly is a player’s effect on the locker room and in the win column, pleasing the fanbase should be top of mind. But in the case of Tyus Jones, the still relatively new Minnesota Timberwolves head decision maker can win on all fronts.

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