Timberpups Tracker: Towns joins Wolves' triple-double club

December 29, 2016

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 8th 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 21, first season)

Statistical season averages: 17.1 minutes, 4.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks, 37.6 FG%, 29.0 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 17.5 minutes, 2.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.5 blocks, 26.7 FG%, 20.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 9.0 PER, 44.5 TS%, 15.3 USG%, 91 ORtg, 108 DRtg, 0.0 VORP

Notable: Dunn played nearly 24 minutes against Atlanta, his first time over 20 minutes and most on-court action since Nov. 23. He did have a season-high six rebounds in that contest, but still is having issues getting the ball in the next, now having gone 11 straight games scoring in single digits. In four games this past week, Dunn had three points in three of those games and two in another.

TYUS JONES (age 20, second season)

Statistical season averages: 11.0 minutes, 3.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, 42.9 FG%, 41.7 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 5.8 minutes, 1.0 points, 1.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 50.0 FG%, 0.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 16.0 PER, 59.4 TS%, 13.8 USG%, 122 ORtg, 110 DRtg, 0.1 VORP

Notable: Jones played in two of Minnesota's four games last week, getting in back-to-back games Dec. 25-26. In the latter, he played nearly eight minutes, his most action in nearly a month.


ZACH LAVINE (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 37.6 minutes, 21.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, 47.3 FG%, 40.8 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 35.3 minutes, 23.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.0 blocks, 49.2 FG%, 52.9 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 16.9 PER, 59.8 TS%, 22.9 USG%, 116 ORtg, 115 DRtg, 0.8 VORP

Notable: LaVine was on fire against Sacramento, pouring in a career-high 40 points on 13-of-21 shooting. But he combined to make just 43.2 percent of his shots in the next three games, scoring 16, 21 and 17 points.


SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD (age 24, fourth season)

Statistical season averages: 17.5 minutes, 6.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.2 steals, 0.1 blocks, 41.7 FG%, 27.8 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 22.7 minutes, 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks, 46.2 FG%, 50.0 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 10.9 PER, 51.0 TS%, 18.8 USG%, 106 ORtg, 115 DRtg, -0.5 VORP

Notable: Muhammad saw his most minutes (29:02) of the season in the win over Atlanta and he responded with 12 points. He also played 25:06 at Oklahoma City, his third-highest court time on the year, and had a season-high 15 points.


KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (age 21, second season)

Statistical season averages: 35.2 minutes, 22.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.4 blocks, 48.4 FG%, 33.9 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 33.8 minutes, 19.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.0 steals, 1.3 blocks, 53.3 FG%, 41.7 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 22.7 PER, 56.3 TS%, 27.6 USG%, 113 ORtg, 109 DRtg, 1.4 VORP

Notable: Towns "only" had 15 points at Denver, his fifth-lowest output of the season, but he also had 11 rebounds and 10 assists, giving him the 33rd triple-double in franchise history. He became just the 11th Minnesota player to accomplish the feat. Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love are the only other forwards to record a triple-double for the Timberwolves. Towns had double-doubles in two of the other three Wolves games, giving him 22 on the season, which is already 25th-most in a single season in Minnesota history.


ANDREW WIGGINS (age 21, third season)

Statistical season averages: 36.6 minutes, 21.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, 44.4 FG%, 36.7 3PT%

Statistical averages, last week: 35.1 minutes, 21.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.0 blocks, 46.6 FG%, 33.3 3PT%

Advanced stats, season: 15.6 PER, 53.0 TS%, 27.4 USG%, 106 ORtg, 114 DRtg, -0.3 VORP

Notable: Wiggins has scored 21 or more points in each of his last three games and shot exactly 50 percent from the field in each of those contests.


(note: For now we are leaving off Adreian Payne, who turns 26 in February. If he becomes a regular member of the rotation we might then include him.)



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