It’s 2018. In today’s day and age, nobody has time for running backs who can’t catch or point guards who can’t shoot. With all due respect to Adrian Peterson and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota has moved on to more well-rounded replacements. In the case of the Vikings, as it should be, Dalvin Cook is considered the future at the RB position, even after a torn ACL sidelined him for most of 2017..
In regards to the long-term replacement for Ricky Rubio, that situation isn’t as cut and dry. As laid out in our most recent article, by almost all statistical accounts, signing Jeff Teague to replace the Spaniard has been an upgrade at the PG position. However, unlike Dalvin Cook with the Vikings, who is that up-and-coming talent, the 29 year-old Teague has an underrated, and seemingly always improving, youngster vying for his minutes.
Enter Minnesota native, Tyus Jones. The Apple Valley High School alum, who’s currently serving as Teague’s backup, is in his 3rd season. All Land of 10K Lakes bias aside — after the Wolves ride out Teague the remainder of this year, using his playoff experience to push Minnesota to playoff heights not seen since the early-2000’s, Jones needs to be considered the starting PG of the team he grew up watching, as he heads into his 4th NBA campaign. He will be at the spry age of 22, come that time. Yup… 22.
The NBA trade deadline (February 8th) is coming in hotter than the Timberwolves during home games. Jeff Teague is under contract through the 2019-20 season. Meaning, there is no concern of him walking in this summer’s free agency. So, a trade can wait. Remember, Minnesota hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2004. Tyus is still inexperienced, and look, Thibs loves Aaron Brooks but he doesn’t want him anywhere near the hardwood come April and May basketball. It’s not the time for the Duke Alum’s promotion. Not yet.
As soon as this season ceases, all bets are off. The Wolves front office needs to throw on their Wolf of Wall Street personas and hit the f*cken phones. Regardless of what type of Teague-involved business transaction they may or may not be able to pull off, the path needs to be cleared for Tyus Jones.
Teague (14.77) and Jones’ (14.08) have very comparable PERs this season. Considering how much the Minnesota product has progressed in 2017-18, and the fact the former Hawk will turn 30 in June, indicates a Tyus trend that will likely surpass Teague within the next couple of seasons. On top of that, offensively and defensively, Jones makes his teammates better.
As of last week, per NBA columnist, Shane Young, the Wolves’ main starting lineup (Teague, Butler, Wiggins, Gibson, Towns) had played 832 minutes together this season. During that nearly 14 hours of game time, that group came in with an Offensive Rating of 111.3 and a Defensive Rating of 103.4. When you take the difference between those two numbers, you calculate their respectable Net Rating of +7.9.
Unfortunately for Teague, for the 249 minutes of game time Jones has replaced him to play alongside the other starting-four, the hybrid lineup has had the best Net Rating out of ALL OTHER GROUPS of five in the NBA.
Best lineups by Net Rating, out of all 5-man lineups to play 200+ minutes this season
(had to fix the Mavs’ numbers) pic.twitter.com/rqG350Yo1e
— Shane Young (@YoungNBA) January 23, 2018
Part of me just wanted to insert some sort of mic-drop style GIF right here and call this article a day. I don’t know about you, but that shit blows my mind. Let’s go!
However (Stephen A. Smith voice), before somebody chimes in with the “Teague is the starter. Thus, he plays more vs. the league’s elite PGs,” take, I want to convey that I’m cognizant of that aspect. While that factor does come into play, it’s not significant enough to alter this argument. That is true about every baller that comes up and eventually replaces the older starter. Eventually you take the plunge and winners like Tyus play up to their competition.
Per Young’s Net Rating breakdown, the Wolves’ starting-four are 21.1 POINTS BETTER when on the court with Tyus, rather than Teague… (read that again. 21.1 was NOT a typo). That is only SLIGHTLY less than the 22.8 point difference between the Golden State Warriors’ and Chicago Bulls’ starting lineups, when Zach Levine is NOT playing for the Bulls.
And just in case you still aren’t convinced:
I’m glad I waited: