Luka Garza is leading the G-League in scoring, but his 29.8 points per game isn't the statistic that sticks out to Garza. Instead, his 3.2 assists do.
"I never averaged three-plus assists in my life," the Timberwolves forward said.
During his four years at Iowa, Garza, a 6-11 center, never averaged above 1.7. He says his playmaking has been a part of his fit within the offensive system the Wolves like to play. What they do in the G-League at Iowa mirrors what they run on the NBA roster.
The fit has been seamless, he has said, as he has bounced back and forth between Iowa and the NBA squad.
"I love this system that we play with here," Garza said. "We play a lot through the bigs, Karl [-Anthony Towns] and Rudy [Gobert]. It's very evident and it's kind of the same thing with me down there. We're not only put in positions to score but make decisions and get guys involved."
Garza, who is on a two-way contract, is back with the Wolves after putting up 44 points in a G-League game on Monday. Some corners of Wolves fans on social media have been clamoring for coach Chris Finch to give Garza some minutes to see what he can do at the NBA level.
They got their wish on Wednesday against the Pacers, when he entered the game in the second quarter to give Gobert a breather.
Finch admitted he probably should have given Garza a shot, along with forward/center Nathan Knight, during Saturday's game against Oklahoma City, especially after Gobert was ejected.
"That's one thing I was mad at myself after the game the other day," Finch said. "I should've gone bigger with those guys and see if we could've maybe punished those switches. Normally we don't really chase lineups, but we got caught chasing lineups because they were playing so much spread lineups. If I could go back and do it again, I probably would have played bigger."
Finch said Garza fits "naturally" into how the Wolves like to play.
"What we really like about him is he can make an offense function," Finch said. "He's a quick decision-maker. He can score in a lot of different ways. … He can punish switches. I think there is some translation. I think this system fits him really well. It's good to see him doing well."
Garza has NBA experience; he played in 32 games last season for the Pistons and averaged 5.8 points. As the Wolves search for an identity in the absence of Towns, who is out indefinitely because of a right calf strain, Garza said he is staying ready for his moment, even as he deals with the logistics of straddling both the G-League and NBA rosters.
"Being around Karl and Rudy and this type of level of talent on this team is the perfect room to grow and absorb as much knowledge as I can from these guys," Garza said. "Every time I get the opportunity to be here, I try to soak everything up and be a sponge."
Prince not quite ready to return
Forward Taurean Prince missed his sixth consecutive game Wednesday because of a shoulder injury he suffered the previous time the Wolves played the Pacers on Nov. 23.
On Nov. 25, Finch said Prince would miss one to two weeks because of the injury, but as the two-week mark approaches, it doesn't sound like Prince is quite ready to make a return.
"He's feeling better and better but I'm not sure he's right on the doorstep," Finch said.
Finch said it could be another week before Prince is ready to play. Prince is averaging 7.9 points off the bench.