Timberpups Tracker: Dec. 17 edition

BY Ryan Lund • December 17, 2015

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 fifth edition of the 2015-16 Timberpups Tracker.

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.

ANDREW WIGGINS (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 20.8 points (20.3), 3.6 rebounds (2.8), 1.6 assists (1), 0.7 blocks (0.75), 35.0 minutes (33.3), 43.0 FG% (45.3), 25.8 3PT% (16.7)

Advanced stats, season: 22.5 PER, .515 TS%, 28.4 USG%, 102 ORtg, 110 DRtg, -0.2 VORP

Notable: The second-year guard is piling on the points this season, and scored 20-plus in all but one game this week, a 13-point performance against Phoenix. However, Wiggins' propensity for tough shots has continued, as his conversion rate from beyond the arc continues to suffer.

ZACH LAVINE (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 15.0 points (19.8), 3.5 rebounds (3.3), 3.6 assists (3.5), 0.1 blocks (0.25), 25.1 minutes (26.0), 43.3 FG% (45.6), 35.5 3PT% (37.5)

Advanced stats, season: 17.8 PER, .534 TS%, 28.6 USG%, 104 ORtg, 109 DRtg, 0.4 VORP

Notable: LaVine has been heating up in recent weeks, making reports that the Wolves are shopping veteran guard Kevin Martin even more plausible. The second-year shooter was electric following a Dec. 11 loss to Denver, peaking with a 28-point performance against Phoenix.

ADREIAN PAYNE (age 24, second season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 3.4 points (1.7), 2.5 rebounds (1.3), 0.5 assists (0), 0.1 blocks (0), 9.6 minutes (3.3), 46.9 FG% (50.0), 45.5 3PT% (0.00)

Advanced stats, season: 9.2 PER, .543 TS%, 17.9 USG%, 94 ORtg, 105 DRtg, -0.1 VORP

Notable: The Wolves continue to use Payne sparingly, as he averaged fewer than 3.5 minutes per game after averaging more than eight minutes per game the week before. Payne was active in three of the Wolves' four games this week, but saw the floor for less than a minute against Phoenix,

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 20, first season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 15.4 points (16.3), 9.1 rebounds (7.8), 1.0 assists (1), 2.1 blocks (1.50), 28.0 minutes (27.5), 53.5 FG% (55.3), 42.9 3PT% (40.0)

Advanced stats, season: 22.5 PER, .587 TS%, 23.8 USG%, 110 ORtg, 101 DRtg, 0.7 VORP

Notable: Rookie big man Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks may have won on Wednesday, but it was Towns who had the biggest impact on the score sheet, posting 25 points and 10 rebounds in a road loss to New York. Towns had another solid outing on Tuesday, scoring 18 in a loss to the Nuggets, despite the Wolves' losses.

NEMANJA BJELICA (age 27, first season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 5.9 points (1.8), 4.9 rebounds (2.0), 1.6 assists (0.5), 0.4 blocks (0.5), 22.3 minutes (13.5), 43.7 FG% (21.4), 34.4 3PT% (11.1)

Advanced stats, season: 10.6 PER, .550 TS%, 12.1 USG%, 111 ORtg, 107 DRtg, 0.4 VORP

Notable: Bjelica has struggled since returning from a knee injury, averaging fewer than two points per game this week as his numbers suffered across the board. The shooter hit just two three-pointers on 10 attempts last week.

TYUS JONES (age 19, first season)

Statistical season averages (last week): 0.5 points (0), 0.5 rebounds (0), 0.5 assists (0), 0.0 blocks (0), 7.0 minutes (0), 0.00 FG% (0), 0.00 3PT% (0)

Advanced stats, season: -6.8 PER, 0.85 TS%, 18.6 USG%, 30 ORtg, 105 DRtg, 0 VORP

Notable: Jones will reportedly play two more games with the D-League's Idaho Stampede before returning to the Wolves, and his play has certainly warranted a return. The Duke product has averaged 23.3 points through four games in the D-League, as well as five assists.

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