Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones sums up Grizzlies’ career year

Memphis entered the fight Thursday with Minnesota on a 10-game winning streak that helped the Grizzlies advance to the top tier of the Western Conference.

The assistant in this charge was a familiar face to Minnesota basketball fans: Tyus Jones. The reserve point guard is having the best year of his career.

Jones does a lot of what he did on an annual basis, once again leading the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio and also running the Grizzlies’ second line. But the 25-year-old general has also improved his offensive game this season.

He currently breaks records for three-pointers (40 percent), field goals (55 percent), and points per game (8.4). The number of shots is of particular importance as they were Jones’ main hit at this point in his career and were often celebrated during his four seasons with the Timberwolves. The Grizzlies lead their rivals by 4.9 points per 100 possessions when Jones is on the floor – a tasteless number for a player on the bench.

Of course, Jones has spent a lot of time this season as a starter for the Grizzlies. With MVP contender Ja Morant missing 12 games this season, Jones entered the starting five and led Memphis to a 10-2 mark, essentially sparking a long pro streak for the Grizzlies.

“It means a lot to our team,” current Grizzlies coach Darko Rajakovic said. “Tice Jones is a really good player, very good for our season and for everything we do. I know he’s put in a lot of work over the summer working on his shooting and shooting efficiency, and I’m really happy that he’s (seeing) the fruits of his labor.”

The Appley Valley native’s game has reached new heights in his seventh season in the NBA, just as he is about to become a free agent for the second time. Jones signed a three-year, $26.4 million contract with Memphis as a restricted free agent in 2019 after Minnesota refused to offer Jones anything close to his market value.

Considering how he’s been playing for a high-profile team this year, as well as his relatively young age, Jones’ market value could be equal to a starting point guard.

VACCINE MANDATE COMES TO TARGET CENTER

The Timberwolves announced Thursday that they are in partnership with Minneapolis’ new mandate for public spaces to participate in the Wolves’ home games at the Target Center starting with the January 30 game against Utah.

Minnesota also announced masks will be required for spectators starting with the January 16 game against Golden State, except when people are eating or drinking. Masks were required at the start of this season, but fans rarely wore them when entering the arena.

WOLVES HIRES EXPERIENCED OFFICER

In an effort to improve the player experience, the Timberwolves and Lynx have hired Marquise Watts as the Organization’s Director of Experience.

According to the organizations’ press release, he will work “both in basketball and in business, focusing on the experience of the best players and making the organization a destination for talent.”

Most recently, Watts served as president of brand strategy for Klutch Sports Group. While there, he worked closely with Timberwolves players Josh Okogi and Anthony Edwards, as well as many other NBA players.

The Milwaukee native played college basketball at the University of Minnesota Morris. In the spring of this year, he will begin his work in the organization.

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