Timberpups Tracker: March 17 edition

The Minnesota Timberwolves have one of the most exciting collections of young players on an NBA roster. Every Thursday, FOX Sports North tracks the progress of those on the Timberwolves who are in their first or second season in the league.

This is the 17th edition of the 2015-16 Timberpups Tracker, covering March 10-16.

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

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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.

ANDREW WIGGINS (age 21, second season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 20.6 points (19.3), 3.6 rebounds (2.3), 2.0 assists (2.3), 0.6 blocks (1), 35.0 minutes (35.3), .455 FG% (.522), .286 3PT% (.400)

Advanced stats, season: 16.3 PER, .536 TS%, 27.5 USG%, 105 ORtg, 113 DRtg, -0.2 VORP

Notable: The steady Wiggins was key as the Timberwolves won two of three games this past week scoring at least 16 points in each. He had 20 points and five steals in the win over Oklahoma City on Friday, dishing out the assist on Ricky Rubio’s game-winning 3-pointer. He appeared hobbled on Wednesday but still scored 16 points.

ZACH LAVINE (age 21, second season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 13.9 points (21.7), 3.0 rebounds (2.3), 3.0 assists (1.3), 0.2 blocks (0.3), 26.7 minutes (35.7), .452 FG% (.571), .376 3PT% (.556)

Advanced stats, season: 14.6 PER, .543 TS%, 24.6 USG%, 103 ORtg, 112 DRtg, 0.2 VORP

Notable: A Disney XD appearance and two 28-point games? Not a bad week for the second-year guard, who made six 3-pointers in the win over Memphis. He catalyzed the Wolves’ offense in that game, allowing them to survive the second-half blitz by the Grizzlies. His defense still needs to improve, but LaVine has made huge strides this season on the offensive end.

ADREIAN PAYNE (age 25, second season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 2.6 points (0), 2.1 rebounds (0), 0.5 assists (0), 0.2 blocks (0), 9.5 minutes (3.5), .384 FG% (.000), .321 3PT% (.000)

Advanced stats, season: 5.8 PER, .445 TS%, 17.2 USG%, 83 ORtg, 108 DRtg, -0.4 VORP

Notable: Payne saw just seven minutes of court time this past week and was a non-factor on both ends of the floor. Interim coach Sam Mitchell has used D-League call up Greg Smith more than Payne to supplement the team’s frontcourt depth.

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 20, first season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 17.7 points (17.3), 10.3 rebounds (10.7), 1.8 assists (2), 1.7 blocks (1.3), 31.3 minutes (37.7), .545 FG% (.528), .344 3PT% (.000)

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Advanced stats, season: 22.7 PER, .593 TS%, 24.6 USG%, 112 ORtg, 106 DRtg, 2.5 VORP

Notable: Towns didn’t score more than 18 points in a game this past week, but his three double-doubles were key in the Wolves 2-1 record. He made several key shots late against Oklahoma City and was the one Minnesota player who competed well on the boards Wednesday against the Grizzlies. Expect more of the same from KAT in the final weeks of the season.

NEMANJA BJELICA (age 27, first season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 4.3 points (0), 3.1 rebounds (1), 1.3 assists (.5), 0.3 blocks (0), 17.4 minutes (6.5), .422 FG% (.000), .343 3PT% (.000)

Advanced stats, season: 8.8 PER, .540 TS%, 12.1 USG%, 106 ORtg, 111 DRtg, 0.3 VORP

Notable: Bjelica has struggled since returning from injury and looked overmatched in limited playing time this past week. The Wolves would love a strong end of the season from him as they look to solidify their frontcourt depth for the future.

TYUS JONES (age 19, first season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 4.5 points (5.0), 1.5 rebounds (.3), 2.5 assists (2.3), 0.1 blocks (0.7), 13.9 minutes (14.3), .378 FG% (.357), .438 3PT% (.167)

Advanced stats, season: 12.6 PER, .482 TS%, 17.8 USG%, 101 ORtg, 111 DRtg, -0.1 VORP

Notable: Jones has continued to put up decent numbers in increased playing time, but he hasn’t shown the ability to catalyze the offense yet. He probably could use more time with the team’s starters to showcase his abilities as a passer.

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