The Phoenix Suns’ quest to find a new point guard in the aftermath of the trade that sent Brandon Knight to the Houston Rockets has been overshadowed in recent days, following reports that Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler wants to be traded. However, the Suns are reportedly still on this quest, and seem interested in acquiring Butler’s teammate, Tyus Jones, as their potential starting point guard for the 2018-19 season.
The rumor was first reported by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who was discussing the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins as part of his list of the NBA’s “most intriguing” players this season. While discussing how Wiggins could have a bigger opportunity to shine if Minnesota trades away a primary ball-handler, Lowe mentioned that the Suns have inquired about Jones — an incoming fourth-year point guard who served as Jeff Teague’s backup in the position in 2017-18.
According to CBS Sports, the possibility of the Phoenix Suns trading for Tyus Jones is “more notable” for the Suns than it is for the Timberwolves, as Phoenix has already traded two point guards — Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight — since the start of the 2017-18 season. Knight, in particular, was traded to the Houston Rockets in August, with the Suns acquiring power forward Ryan Anderson and rookie guard De’Anthony Melton in return.
As the Suns are preparing to enter training camp in a few days, the team’s top point guards are journeyman Isaiah Canaan and incoming second-year player Shaquille Harrison, which CBS Sports opined is “simply not good enough.”
The Phoenix Suns have expressed interest in Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Tyus Jones, according to @ZachLowe_NBA. In this excellent breakdown, @BryanKalbrosky explains why Jones could be a PERFECT fit for the Suns: https://t.co/pC6aO2B3gP— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) September 21, 2018
Considering that it could be too expensive to acquire some of the NBA’s better point guards — and how all of the top free agents have already been signed — CBS Sports wrote that acquiring Jones could be a “sneaky good move” for Phoenix, as he is an “underutilized young backup” who has shown potential despite having had limited opportunities thus far with the Timberwolves. It remains unclear, however, whom Minnesota might want to acquire if the team decides to part ways with the former Duke star and first-round draft pick.
Similarly, Hoops Hype posited that Jones’ defensive skills could make him a good fit for the Suns, as the team had the worst overall defensive rating in the NBA last season. On ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus rankings for 2017-18, Jones finished second place among all point guards, ranking behind the San Antonio Spurs’ Dejounte Murray and ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball despite his reserve status.
As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Tyus Jones will be entering the 2018-19 NBA season with career averages of 4.4 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and one steal per game. As Teague spent some time on the sidelines due to injuries, Jones started 11 games in his place in 2017-18 as he posted career-high averages in most statistical categories.