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Minnesota native Tyus Jones putting together a career year for Grizzlies

Former Timberwolf recording career-highs in 3-point shooting (40 percent), effective field goal percentage (55 percent) and points per game (8.4).

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies
Memphis Grizzles guard Tyus Jones (21) and forward Brandon Clarke (15) react to a foul call during the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, at FedExForum in Memphis.
Petre Thomas / USA Today Sports

Memphis entered Thursday’s contest against Minnesota on a 10-game winning streak, which helped the Grizzlies vault into the Western Conference’s top tier.

Aiding in that charge has been a familiar face to Minnesota basketball fans: Tyus Jones. The reserve point guard is having a career year at the best possible time.

Jones is doing much of what he’s done on a yearly basis, again leading the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio while conducting for the Grizzlies’ second unit. But the 25-year-old floor general has also upped his offensive game this season.

He’s currently recording career-highs in 3-point shooting (40 percent), effective field goal percentage (55 percent) and points per game (8.4). The shooting numbers are of particular importance, as they were the primary knock of Jones to this point in his career and were often noted during his four seasons with the Timberwolves. The Grizzlies are outscoring their opponents by 4.9 points per 100 possessions when Jones is on the floor — a gaudy number for a bench player.

Granted, Jones has spent a lot of time playing in the Grizzlies’ starting lineup this season. When MVP candidate Ja Morant missed 12 games this season, Jones stepped into the starting five and led Memphis to a 10-2 mark, essentially sparking the Grizzlies’ lengthy run of proficient play.

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“That means a lot for our team,” Grizzlies acting coach Darko Rajakovic said. “Tyus Jones is a really good player, really good for our season and for all we do. I know that he put in a lot of work over the summer working on his shot, and efficiency on his shot, and I’m really glad that he’s (seeing) the fruits of his labor.”

The Apply Valley native’s game has reached new heights in his seventh NBA season, right as he’s about to enter free agency for a second time. Jones struck a three-year deal, $26.4 million deal with Memphis as a restricted free agent in 2019 after Minnesota refused to offer Jones anything close to his market value.

With the way he’s playing this year for a high-level team, along with his relatively young age, Jones’ market value may be that of a starting point guard.

Vaccine mandate coming to Target Center

The Timberwolves announced Thursday that, in cooperation with Minneapolis' new mandate for public spaces, proof of vaccination or record of a negative COVID-19 test within the past 72 hours will be required to get into Wolves’ home games at Target Center, starting with the Jan. 30 game against Utah.

Minnesota also announced that masks will be required for spectators, starting with its Jan. 16 game against Golden State, with the exception of when people are eating or drinking. Masks were required earlier this season but were worn sparingly by fans upon their entrance into the arena.

Wolves hire experience officer

Aiming to improve the player experience, the Timberwolves and Lynx hired Marquise Watts as the organization’s Chief Experience Officer

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He will work across “both basketball and business operations with a focus on premier player experience and establishing the organization as a talent destination,” according to a news release from the organizations.

Watts most recently served as president of brand strategy for Klutch Sports Group. While there, he worked closely with Timberwolves players Josh Okogie and Anthony Edwards, among many other NBA players.

The Milwaukee native played college basketball at the University of Minnesota Morris. He will start his work with the organization this spring.

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