When it comes to offense with the Timberwolves, most of the attention, expectations, analysis and — when things aren’t going well — hand-wringing is focused on Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Towns and Wiggins lead the team, averaging 26.5 and 22.4 points and taking 17.7 and 19.2 shots per game, respectively.
But Shabazz Napier said he thinks that when things aren’t going well during a game, the onus might not be on either of those two players.
“This team is so used to KAT and Wigs doing all the work that when it doesn’t happen, we just stand around,’’ Napier said after the Wolves lost in Chicago on Wednesday. “That’s how it is. We just gotta find ways to help them guys out. … We all, the role players, have to figure out, how do we help them out better?’’
It might be by moving the ball better, setting a better screen, supporting Towns on the boards, or taking and making open shots that can space the floor.
In particular, it might be getting to an open space, ready for a pass should Towns or Wiggins meet a double-team. That’s something that Keita Bates-Diop, for example, does well, getting into a corner and being ready for a kick-out.
“Absolutely,’’ said forward Robert Covington. “Guys have to step up. Nothing else needs to be explained. We can’t just rely on those two. We have to help them.’’
What that doesn’t mean is a player trying to do something he isn’t good at.
“KAT does a lot of different things that others can’t do,’’ Covington said. “So other guys can do things KAT can’t do. So it’s not a matter of guys stepping up and trying to match that caliber. It’s about complementing each other. Everybody isn’t going to be able to fill each other’s void, but you have to do the little things that help each other out. That’s where we are as a unit.’’
Wolves coach Ryan Saunders agreed.
“We’re not an organization that ever says, ‘This group needs to do more’ or ‘that group needs to do more,’ ” Saunders said. “Whether second unit, first unit, these two players, these five players, coaching staff, training staff, we’re an organization that is committed to each other. So we all need to do more.’’
Saunders said it was often up to Towns or Wiggins to make sure other players get more opportunities.
“We still emphasize, when we get into an angle ball screen and Andrew can attack the paint, we know a lot of teams like to help from the low man,’’ Saunders said. “That’s one way for these other guys to get shots, too. A lot of that can be on Andrew and Karl. With that opportunity comes responsibility, especially having the ball late in games.’’
• Jake Layman missed his 31st consecutive game because of a sprained left toe.
• Lynx assistant coach Plenette Pierson and players Sylvia Fowles and Karima Christmas-Kelly attended Friday’s game.