Timberpups Tracker: Karl-Anthony Towns goes off

FOX Sports North tracks the progress of the Minnesota Timberwolves' young stars

The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the most exciting collections of young players on an NBA roster with nearly half of their players 25 or younger. Every Thursday, FOX Sports North tracks the progress of those young Timberwolves.

This is the 4th edition of the 2016-17 Timberpups Tracker.

(A glossary of the advanced statistics used for season totals, which are from basketball-reference.com. can be found at the end of this article)

KRIS DUNN (age 21, first season)

Statistical season averages: 17.7 minutes, 3.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, 31.3 FG%, 30.8 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 10.0 minutes, 1.3 points, 0.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks, 22.2 FG%, 50.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 7.5 PER, 39.3 TS%, 13.6 USG%, 83 ORtg, 105 DRtg, 0.0 VORP

Notable: Dunn's play has suffered over the last few weeks, and his minutes are declining accordingly. He hasn't played more than 12 minutes since last Wednesday. His season PER stands at 7.5, ahead of only little-used newcomer Brandon Rush.

 

TYUS JONES (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages: 14.4 minutes, 4.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.0 blocks, 41.9 FG%, 42.9 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 13.1 minutes, 3.5 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.0 blocks, 60.0 FG%, 66.7 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 16.4 PER, 59.5 TS%, 13.3 USG%, 122 ORtg, 108 DRtg, 0.1 VORP

Notable: After averaging 15.4 minutes off the bench in three games Jones was limited to just six Wednesday, and didn't record a shot in the Wolves' loss to the Knicks. Thibodeau opted to leave his starters in rather than deploy Jones late.

 

ZACH LAVINE (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 36.6 minutes, 19.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 46.0 FG%, 37.2 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 40.4 minutes, 22.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 49.3 FG%, 30.8 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 16.1 PER, 58.0 TS%, 22.5 USG%, 114 ORtg, 113 DRtg, 0.3 VORP

Notable: LaVine stepped up for the Wolves in losses to Golden State and Utah, and established season highs with eight rebounds and eight assists against the Jazz. He took a back seat with Towns rolling against the Knicks, but the Wolves' resident dunk champion appears to be adding more layers to his game.

 

SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD (age 23, fourth season)

Statistical season averages: 15.3 minutes, 6.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 43.4 FG%, 12.4 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 10.3 minutes, 4.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 26.7 FG%, 0.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 12.3 PER, 53.3 TS%, 19.1 USG%, 109 ORtg, 113 DRtg, -0.2 VORP

Notable: Muhammad has been glued to the bench this week, and topped 10 minutes of action just once, logging 17 minutes in the Wolves' loss to Utah. He was reasonably productive against the Jazz, shooting 3-for-6 from the field and finishing with 10 points. He tried to dunk on Kristaps Porzingis in the Wolves' loss to the Knicks and it… it did not go well.

 

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages: 35.1 minutes, 22.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.4 blocks, 50.0 FG%, 37.5 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 36.4 minutes, 26.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, 48.1 FG%, 22.2 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 24.0 PER, 57.6 TS%, 26.9 USG%, 116 ORtg, 107 DRtg, 1.0 VORP

Notable: Towns looked emotionally spent after the Knicks game, declaring that he didn't do enough to help the team win despite pouring in a career-high 47 points and adding 18 rebounds. He scored a whopping 22 points in the first quarter and made his first 10 shots, finishing with a 15-for-22 mark from the field.

 

ANDREW WIGGINS (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 36.4 minutes, 22.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.4 blocks, 42.6 FG%, 41.4 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 38.5 minutes, 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, 39.1 FG%, 40.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 25.6 PER, 52.8 TS%, 28.9 USG%, 104 ORtg, 113 DRtg, -0.0 VORP

Notable: Wiggins struggled from the field in losses to Golden State and Utah, going a combined 12-for-31. He posterized poor JaVale McGee in the Warriors game, but his best game of the week came against Phoenix, when he scored 25 points and shot 38.9 percent from the field, a slight improvement.

 

(note: For now we are leaving off Adreian Payne, who turns 26 in February. If he becomes a regular member of the rotation we might then include him.)

 

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

PER -- Player Efficiency Rating: A measure of per-minute production standardized such that the league average is 15.

TS% -- True Shooting Percentage: A measure of shooting efficiency that takes into account 2-point field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws.

USG% -- Usage Percentage: An estimate of the percentage of team plays used by a player while he was on the floor.

ORtg -- Offensive Rating: An estimate of points produced per 100 possessions.

DRtg -- Defensive Rating: An estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions.

VORP -- Value over Replacement Player: A box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level (-2.0) player, translated to an average team and prorated to an 82-game season.