Tyus Jones may develop into Knicks’ Jalen Brunson backup plan

Tyus Jones may develop into Knicks’ Jalen Brunson backup plan

The Knicks’ plan to discover a level guard by way of free company doesn’t must be “Jalen Brunson or Bust.”

If Brunson sticks with the Mavericks, after his heady playoff efficiency, which continued with a 28-point outburst in a Game 3 victory over the Suns on Friday night time, there’s one other true level guard taking part in within the Western Conference second spherical who intrigues the Knicks.

Memphis backup level guard Tyus Jones, who performed three seasons for Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota, is weaving a profession 12 months and is on the Knicks’ radar, in line with an NBA supply.

The former Duke playmaker usually goes neglected and unheralded as a result of he’s Ja Morant’s backup. But he has been a glue man throughout Memphis’ rousing season that continues in opposition to the Warriors in Game 3 on Saturday night time.

League sources mentioned Jones may command the complete non-taxpayer $10.2 million mid-level exception — which the Knicks possess as they don’t have cap house.

“I really like him,’’ one NBA coach instructed The Post. “He must be the most effective backup level guards within the league, if not the very best.’’

Tyus Jones
NBAE through Getty Images

Jones, 25, set an NBA report for greatest assists-to-turnover ratio this season (7.4 to 1) in 73 video games — the fourth straight season wherein he has led the league. The central query is whether or not a profession backup could make the leap to starter, and in New York, no much less.

In the Knicks’ circumstance, although, Jones may occupy a 25-minute beginning position and have Immanuel Quickley or Derrick Rose as a change-of-pace backup.

With Kemba Walker successfully finished as a Knick and Rose not a assure due to his well being, the franchise is determined so as to add a authentic ground normal to the roster. (This 12 months’s draft is taken into account weak at level guard).

Jones additionally is aware of RJ Barrett from the Duke brotherhood. Jones’ youthful brother, Tre, performed with Barrett at Duke in 2018-19.

If Jones isn’t an explosive penetrator, he might not must be, as a result of Barrett and Julius Randle are relentless attackers. That Jones shot 39 % from 3-point vary is a boon.

In 21.2 minutes per sport, Jones averaged 4.4 assists and eight.7 factors. He additionally dedicated fewer than one turnover per sport (0.6).

“Jones had the very best 12 months of his profession,’’ one NBA personnel man mentioned. “He’s a strong backup — not a starter. He shoots it nicely, however that’s his greatest attribute.’’

Jones performed for Thibodeau from 2016-19 with the Timberwolves and was on the roster when the coach bought canned.

Tyus Jones

In 2017-18, Jones, a 2015 first-round choose, performed in all 82 video games, so he has proven sturdiness. After a season of the oft-injured Walker and Rose, that might be refreshing for the Knicks.

Some scouts, nonetheless, view Jones as too small and never athletic sufficient to be a full-fledged start line guard. Yet the Grizzlies, in an oddity, went 20-3 when Jones began for an injured Morant, as a result of he’s referred to as an organizer.

“He isn’t adequate, merely,’’ the personnel man mentioned of Jones being a full-blown starter. “He struggled to keep up a job as a direct backup [in Memphis] till this season. He fluctuated out and in of [the] Grizzlies’ rotation as backup and third level guard.’’

Thibodeau likes winners and Jones gained an NCAA title at Duke in 2015. (Brunson gained two at Villanova).

“[Tyus] is an ample defender,’’ one other NBA scout mentioned. “He doesn’t get to the road and is simply not fairly dynamic sufficient to be a degree guard on a final-four staff. He can begin on many groups, however not title-contending ones. He shot the ball very nicely this 12 months, however that hasn’t been his sample.’’

Jones is a 35.2 % 3-point shooter in 455 regular-season video games — a mark barely higher than his Duke brother Barrett.

With a Brunson signing difficult and costly, Jones may very well be the steadier fallback.

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