Due in large part to injuries that have, ultimately, ended the seasons of Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose, point guard Tyus Jones is seeing career highs in playing time. By the time this season ends, barring any more injuries, Jones will have started 23 games.
He is already at career-high averages for points (6.2) and assists (4.4). And while his shooting is down, there is one thing Jones is very, very good at: Taking care of the ball.
Entering Tuesday's game, Jones is first in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (6.62). It's a big reason why the Wolves are fourth best in the league in fewest turnovers per game (13.2) and ninth in points allowed off turnovers per game (15.5).
Wolves interim coach Ryan Saunders said it's a combination of personnel and the team's offensive scheme.
"In terms of the half-court, a lot of times, our point, we like him to have two, three or four reads after the initial ball screen action, or the action to get into the set,'' Saunders said. "The point guards, they know their reads, know where their guys should be. And then it goes to personnel, too. We have point guards who have basketball intelligence with things.''
Saunders compares Jones to Denver's Monte Morris — who is second in assist/turnover ratio behind Jones at 5.54.
"They don't try to do things outside of what they can do or should do,'' Saunders said. "They try to play within themselves. When you do that, in terms of turnovers, those are going to take care of themselves.''
Jones said the stat is a product of emphasis by the coaches. But it's also being good at making the initial read on a play.
"That first read is either where the turnover is going to come or the right decision will be made," he said. "I try not to make the turnover and to try to extend the possession.''
That said, both Saunders and Jones said there is a scenario where a guard being too cautious can be a problem, too.
On a team so shorthanded, Saunders said a higher level of aggressive play might be necessary. "But, for the most part, I think [Jones] does a pretty good job reading.''
Said Jones: "There are times when you look back and say, 'I could have forced the issue. Sometimes you really have to get downhill to make the big step up and open that passing lane. There are times when we can be too conservative. We have to walk that fine line.''
Advice for Williamson: Don't forget the fun
Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns has some advice for Duke star Zion Williamson: Have fun.
Williams is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft and the leader of a Duke team expected to be in Minneapolis for the Final Four.
As such, Williamson and Towns share an experience. Though, to be honest, Towns probably wasn't as deluged with attention as Williamson, because Towns' status as the top NBA prospect was established relatively late in the season. Still, Towns knows enough about what the Duke star is going through to offer his advice.
"He's done a lot of work. He's built a great résumé already,'' Towns said. "If I could tell him anything I'd say have fun. If your last game is the next game or of it's the national championship, just please have fun. Time goes by quick. You're never going to play with these players again. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the present, don't look into the future too much. ''
•Luol Deng (Achilles') missed his 13th straight game Tuesday, and fellow forward Taj Gibson (left calf strain) missed his third straight for the Wolves.
•The Chicago Tribune reported that Rose is writing an autobiography with former Tribune and current Bulls.com reporter Sam Smith called ''I'll Show You.'' It's due out Sept. 10.