Timberpups Tracker: Towns is a rebounding machine

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 11th 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: 16.4 minutes, 3.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, 37.3 FG%, 27.8 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 11.0 minutes, 1.3 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, 22.2 FG%, 0.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 7.9 PER, 43.4 TS%, 15.3 USG%, 88 ORtg, 107 DRtg, -0.1 VORP

Notable: Minnesota’s point guard of the future isn’t getting much playing time in the present. Dunn’s most on-court action in three games this past week was 12:30 — he hadn’t played that few minutes since Nov. 30. And Dunn played less in his other two appearances, including just 8:48 on Tuesday.

 

TYUS JONES (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages: 10.4 minutes, 3.2 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.0 blocks, 44.4 FG%, 42.3 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 15.6 PER, 60.2 TS%, 13.6 USG%, 123 ORtg, 110 DRtg, 0.1 VORP

Notable: Jones appeared in just one of three games last week, playing nine minutes and missing both of his field-goal attempts. Jones has played in just three of nine games since the calendar flipped to 2017.

The Timberpups Tracker Archive

ZACH LAVINE (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 37.2 minutes, 20.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, 46.9 FG%, 41.4 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 34.3 minutes, 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, 50.0 FG%, 55.6 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 15.9 PER, 59.1 TS%, 22.5 USG%, 114 ORtg, 114 DRtg, 1.0 VORP

Notable: LaVine missed two games due to a hip injury and scored just 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting in his return Sunday. He was more in the groove Tuesday, when he had 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

 

SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD (age 24, fourth season)

Statistical season averages: 18.2 minutes, 8.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.1 blocks, 44.8 FG%, 40.7 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 19.2 minutes, 7.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.0 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 38.9 FG%, 50.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 12.1 PER, 55.2 TS%, 19.5 USG%, 109 ORtg, 114 DRtg, -0.6 VORP

Notable: After scoring 20 points against Houston on Jan. 11, Muhammad went on a two-game scoring drought — including missing all six of his shots and scoring no points in a loss at Dallas on Sunday — but he had 15 points Tuesday in San Antonio, making all five of his foul shots. Since Christmas, Muhammad is shooting 91.7 percent from the line (as well as 50 percent from the field and averaging 11.2 points).

 

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 21, second season)

Statistical season averages: 35.9 minutes, 22.0 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.5 blocks, 49.0 FG%, 31.4 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 39.1 minutes, 24.7 points, 14.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.7 blocks, 55.8 FG%, 37.5 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 22.5 PER, 56.8 TS%, 27.3 USG%, 112 ORtg, 108 DRtg, 2.0 VORP

Notable: Towns continues to hit the boards like a mad man. He had games this past week with 17 and 16 rebounds, and has double-digit rebounds in 21 of his last 23 games (averaging 13.7 rebounds in that span). Towns is now eighth in the NBA in rebounds per game. His 13 games with 15 or more rebounds this season is sixth most in the league and just six behind the leader.  Eleven of those 13 games with 15+ rebounds have come within that aforementioned past 23 contests. Oh, he also had games with 29 and 27 points this past week, which are two of his 10-best scoring performances this season.

 

ANDREW WIGGINS (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 36.9 minutes, 21.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, 44.5 FG%, 34.0 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 37.5 minutes, 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.3 blocks, 44.4 FG%, 14.3 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 14.8 PER, 52.5 TS%, 27.6 USG%, 104 ORtg, 114 DRtg, -0.5 VORP

Notable: Wiggins sandwiched a 19-point, 8-rebound effort while making 8 of 15 shots, around a couple of sub-par shooting performances. He’s gone three straight games without hitting the 20-point mark, his longest drought since a four-game stretch from Nov. 26-Dec. 2.

 

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.

 

Dave Heller is the author of the upcoming book Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow as well as Facing Ted Williams Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns