Jones surging as a Timberwolves starter

Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Tyus Jones ranks 10th in the NBA with a 4.79 assist-to-turnover ratio.

If the NBA playoffs began Friday, the 13-9 Minnesota Timberwolves would have home-court advantage in the Western Conference quarterfinals as the No. 4 seed.

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Much of that credit belongs to the newcomers at Target Center like Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Jeff Teague.

But the player who’s made the biggest difference the past four games for Minnesota is a guard that raises his NBA ceiling every time he steps on the court: Tyus Jones.

Playing in his third professional season, Jones has made significant strides on both sides of the ball since the Timberwolves traded for him on draft day in 2015, but he hasn’t had a stretch quite like we’ve seen in the past week.

With Teague nursing an Achilles injury, Jones has started the last three games and is averaging over 38 minutes the past four. After scoring 47 points in his first 18 games of the year, Jones has tallied 45 since the Nov. 24 matchup with Miami — including 16 points in Wednesday’s win over New Orleans, just one off his career best, set last April.

Last 4 First 18
Points/Gm 11.3  (45/4) 2.6  (47/18)
FG Pct  53.3% (16/30) 36.2% (17/47)
3PT Pct  46.7% (7/15) 25.0% (4/16)
Assists/Gm 6.5  (26/4) 2.3  (41/18)
Steals/Gm  4.0  (16/4) 0.5  (9/18)
Rebounds/Gm 4.5  (18/4) 1.4  (26/18)

Even more impressive, Jones has turned the ball over just once in his past three games. He ranks 10th in the NBA with a 4.79 assist-to-turnover ratio.

And in his four-game stretch, he tops the Timberwolves with a 118.2 offensive rating — as well as a 101.0 defensive rating.

Teague is listed as questionable for Friday night, but nevertheless, Jones will ride his hot streak into the matchup with Oklahoma City, a team the Timberwolves have defeated twice already this season.

NOTABLE

— Minnesota (26.0 percent) and Oklahoma City (25.1 percent) rank second and third in the Western Conference in offensive rebounding percentage.

— Karl-Anthony Towns has achieved a double-double in the first half of a game nine times since last season, which is just behind Miami’s Hassan Whiteside for the NBA lead.

— The last three meetings between the Thunder and Timberwolves have been decided by three or fewer points.

— Minnesota is 7-2 this season when Gibson records a double-double.

Statistics courtesy STATS