There hasn’t been much to celebrate on the offensive end of the floor for the Timberwolves since Karl-Anthony Towns has missed the last 15 games.
That continued in Wednesday’s 104-99 loss to the Pacers.
But Jarrett Culver continued his improvement on that end of the floor, scoring 17 points on 8 of 13 shooting.
One encouraging thing about Culver’s night was where he was shooting his shots. Eleven of them came from around the basket, the other two were three-pointers, with Culver making one. There were no mid-range jumpers.
Over his last six games Culver has shot 53%, a vast improvement over where he was to start the season. Culver’s field-goal percentage is now up to 39%.
“He's definitely been a bright spot through some of these tough endings for us,” coach Ryan Saunders said. “His future is bright. The way he's been getting his looks on the offensive end. I think he's been aggressive getting to the basket and then on the defensive end I think he's shown a lot of growth too.”
Culver’s performance has helped ease some of the tension around his slow start to the season. The Wolves have preached patience as he adjusts to the NBA game, and it appears their patience is paying off.
Covington elaborates on defensive coverage
Robert Covington is one of the most cerebral players on the Wolves considering how he is able to diagnose and break down opposing offenses. It has helped earn him the reputation as one of the league’s best defenders. After Indiana’s win, Covington was asked what the Pacers were doing in the pick-and-roll game, specifically with Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, to shift the Wolves defense the way they wanted – and how he tried to get the Wolves to adjust.
“They were patient,” Covington said. “They kind of saw how we were getting the stops in the second quarter. We were shifting over. So now they did an adjustment to where they put the defense on the other side and ran the pick and roll on this side, so it’s a two-man game. Brogdon got down hill in that fourth quarter three times, and that’s what we have to do and I recognized that.
“There was one play where I just went to the other side and I told [Andrew Wiggins] to drop and you just play the high man. So that kind of steered them away a little bit because they hadn’t seen that. It was just little things like that. But it was something I recognized on the court. They steered away from it. Stuff like that we have to take initiative on our own because coaches don’t see exactly what we see on the court.”