Anthony Edwards has been attacking the rim with more frequency — and more success — over the past few games.
There are any number of ways to initiate that drive to the basket, but there's one way that seems to make Edwards most comfortable — from an isolation set.
"It's so much space in isolation," Edwards said. "I don't do this much, but when I'm able to start having more isolations, then I feel like I'll be better off, because I can get more people involved, because I can get past my defender sometimes and find an open man and get an easy bucket. I feel like that's more my game, a little bit."
The numbers available back up Edwards' assertion that he doesn't operate one-on-one all that much. According to NBA.com and Synergy, Edwards has had just 17 shot attempts in isolation, though the numbers don't quantify what constitutes an isolation set and what doesn't. Edwards is 11-for-17 on those possessions. By comparison, Edwards has had 94 shot attempts when he was the primary ballhandler on a pick-and-roll and is shooting just 30% out of those situations.
Whether it's off a pick-and-roll or isolation, Edwards has been making a concerted effort to get to the rim.
"I feel like if you start off finding your teammates first, [the defense] is going to kind of forget about you, and then you can kind of pick and choose when you want to get downhill," Edwards said.
He has been finishing better of late at the rim when he chooses to shoot. Over the past five games, Edwards has shot 50% inside the restricted area and 44% in the paint. Before that, he was shooting 47% in the restricted area and 36% in the paint.
Ryan Saunders was listening before a recent game as a public address announcer was rattling off his starting lineup. Part of that process can include saying a player's height, and while Saunders knows the Wolves don't have a particularly tall team, especially with Karl-Anthony Towns out, something struck him during those introductions.
"We had four guys who were 6-4," Saunders said. "They announced them all at that."
Based on that, it might come as no surprise that the Wolves ranked last in defensive rebounding percentage headed into Friday. That statistic measures how efficient a team is at grabbing every defensive rebound opportunity in a game. The Wolves grab 70.1%. By comparison, the league leaders, the Clippers, grab 75.1%.
There's only so much a team can do without a lot of height, but at the same time rebounding isn't all about height. It also affects how much the Wolves are able to play in transition because they may have to keep more players closer to the rim to try to secure a rebound.
"It's tough because it's got to come from a will," Saunders said. "You want to adjust your philosophy and teaching points, which we've talked a little bit about, where we can't be leaking out maybe how we were sometimes with Karl because we need guards coming back."
• Saunders said Towns continues "ramping up" his activity in his return from COVID protocols but did not have a firm date on his return. Jarrett Culver (left ankle) was not on the trip.
• The Wolves and Entercom reached a multi-year, multi-platform radio distribution agreement that will keep Wolves games on WCCO (830-AM). Terms of the deal were not announced.