Timberpups Tracker: Towns putting up ridiculous numbers

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 15th 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 22, first season)

Statistical season averages: 16.7 minutes, 3.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, 37.5 FG%, 28.8 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 17.0 minutes, 4.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 58.3 FG%, 66.7 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 7.9 PER, 43.5 TS%, 14.5 USG%, 89 ORtg, 109 DRtg, -0.2 VORP

Notable: Dunn had a pretty consistent week. He played between 17-19 minutes in three of Minnesota’s four games (13 in the other) and scored 4, 6, 4 and 4 points.

 

TYUS JONES (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages: 12.5 minutes, 3.6 points, 1.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.1 blocks, 40.3 FG%, 37.9 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 22.5 minutes, 7.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, 38.5 FG%, 40.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 13.7 PER, 53.3 TS%, 14.1 USG%, 116 ORtg, 111 DRtg, 0.0 VORP

Notable: Jones saw some extended playing time this past week, with three games of 21+ minutes. He had 11 points on Friday against Dallas — his highest output of the season since he had 12 points back on Nov. 8. Beyond the Mavs game, Jones’ shot was a bit off (6-of-20 shooting combined in the other three contests), but he had six assists and four rebounds at Houston, five assists at Sacramento and two steals at Utah.

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SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD (age 24, fourth season)

Statistical season averages: 19.4 minutes, 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 47.5 FG%, 40.2 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 17.1 minutes, 11.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, 51.5 FG%, 25.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 14.5 PER, 57.2 TS%, 20.4 USG%, 116 ORtg, 115 DRtg, -0.5 VORP

Notable: With the trade deadline passed, Muhammad put together a string of three straight solid games — scoring 11, 10 and 18 points in the final three contests this past week. That’s a 13.0 average in just 17.5 minutes per game (and he shot 55.6 percent from the field in those three games).

 

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 21, second season)

Statistical season averages: 36.5 minutes, 24.0 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.4 blocks, 52.6 FG%, 34.8 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 37.4 minutes, 28.3 points, 18.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.3 blocks, 64.9 FG%, 66.7 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 25.0 PER, 60.1 TS%, 27.5 USG%, 118 ORtg, 108 DRtg, 3.8 VORP

Notable: Towns is putting up just ridiculous numbers. He has five straight games of at least 21 points and 15 rebounds. Only two players have had a longer steak of 20-15 games since 1983-84: Philadelphia’s Charles Barkley (1990) and Minnesota’s Kevin Love (2010), both with six. Towns is also just the third player in the last 25 years with a four-game stretch with 115 points and 75 rebounds (accomplished Feb. 15-27). With his recent hot shooting, Towns is now 18th in the NBA in field-goal percentage.

 

ANDREW WIGGINS (age 22, third season)

Statistical season averages: 37.0 minutes, 23.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks, 46.4 FG%, 35.3 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 35.1 minutes, 26.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.8 steals, 0.3 blocks, 48.1 FG%, 33.3 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 17.3 PER, 54.5 TS%, 28.4 USG%, 108 ORtg, 113 DRtg, 0.2 VORP

Notable: Wiggins began the week turning 22. He ended it by continuing to pile up the points. Wiggins has now scored 20 or more points in 19 consecutive games, the longest streak in the NBA as well as franchise history. (Side note: Towns has also done this in 16 straight games. The duo have the longest concurrent streak of 20-point games by teammates since Denver’s Alex English and Kiki Vandeweghe did it in 17 straight in 1984.)

 

Out for the season: Zach LaVine

 

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