Timberpups Tracker: ‘Bazz the Great and Powerful

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 12th 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: 17.2 minutes, 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, 50.0 FG%, 25.0 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 24.7 minutes, 5.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.7 blocks, 31.6 FG%, 33.3 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 7.8 PER, 43.3 TS%, 15.0 USG%, 88 ORtg, 108 DRtg, -0.2 VORP

Notable: Dunn’s minutes have tailed off since the return of regular starter Ricky Rubio. He had seven assists and five rebounds in a win over the Brooklyn Nets, but attempted just eight field goals in three games last week.

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TYUS JONES (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages: 9.9 minutes, 3.1 points, 1.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.0 blocks, 41.8 FG%, 46.4 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 15.9 minutes, 6.5 points, 0.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 33.3 FG%, 100 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 15.1 PER, 56.7 TS%, 14.6 USG%, 119 ORtg, 111 DRtg, 0.0 VORP

Notable: A healthier Zach LaVine means more DNPs for Jones. He saw the floor three times after sitting for the Wolves’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. He played a combined 4:56 minutes last week, and missed on his lone try from the field.

 

ZACH LAVINE (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 37.3 minutes, 18.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 45.5 FG%, 39.0 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 39.7 minutes, 15.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, 36.4 FG%, 25.9 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 14.6 PER, 57.4 TS%, 21.6 USG%, 112 ORtg, 114 DRtg, 0.8 VORP

Notable: LaVine announced last week that he’s skipping the dunk contest to focus on his health, an announcement that explains his recent inconsistency. After posting 20 points in back-to-back games against the Pacers and Nets he scored just 11 against the Magic before dropping to eight points against the Cavaliers. He went just 1-for-12 from 3-point range against Orlando and Cleveland, while his only effective game from the perimeter was the win over Brooklyn.

 

SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD (age 24, fourth season)

Statistical season averages: 19.4 minutes, 8.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks, 46.3 FG%, 44.3 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 25.3 minutes, 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 45.2 FG%, 54.5 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 13.6 PER, 56.7 TS%, 19.4 USG%, 114 ORtg, 114 DRtg, -0.5 VORP

Notable: After a quiet night against the Magic ‘Bazz the Great and Powerful had one of his best games of the season in the Wolves’ win over the Nets. He had 18 points and seven rebounds, shot 6-for-11 from the field and hit a buzzer-beater from half-court that gave the Wolves a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

 

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 21, second season)

Statistical season averages: 36.4 minutes, 23.0 points, 11.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.6 blocks, 50.7 FG%, 34.5 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 39.3 minutes, 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.3 blocks, 54.7 FG%, 69.2 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 23.5 PER, 58.2 TS%, 27.4 USG%, 114 ORtg, 108 DRtg, 2.8 VORP

Notable: Towns showed off his shooting touch against the Pacers, hitting back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to get the Wolves within six, a margin that would stand until the buzzer. He dropped 37 points on the Nets and shot 11-of-19 from the field against Cleveland, scoring eight of the Wolves’ first 10 points.

 

ANDREW WIGGINS (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 37.1 minutes, 22.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, 45.1 FG%, 34.7 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 38.3 minutes, 23.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks, 47.9 FG%, 35.7 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 15.4 PER, 53.2 TS%, 27.7 USG%, 105 ORtg, 114 DRtg, -0.4 VORP

Notable: Wiggins is scoring at an impressive clip, and has now topped 20 points in seven straight. He posterized poor Nikola Vucevic, sparking an entire social media campaign with a vicious, one-handed dunk.

 

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