The Timberwolves don't ask Jarred Vanderbilt to score all that much.
Vanderbilt's role is to do everything but score, mostly by defending and rebounding.
When he attacks the offensive glass, Vanderbilt tends to draw at least a couple of fouls per game and there are times he has to head to the free-throw line.
The results have been better there for Vanderbilt this season than last.
Last season, Vanderbilt shot 56% from the line. That number improved to 83% entering Wednesday's game against Utah.
"I put a lot of work in this summer, putting up hundreds of free throws a day," Vanderbilt said. "I didn't think it was form, just more so confidence and knowing when I go to the line, I'm going to make it. All that comes with reps."
Vanderbilt said he practiced more free throws over the summer because he realized he wasn't shooting enough per day. He said last year he was a "foul-for-profit guy," meaning teams might have fouled him at strategic times hoping he would miss both attempts. He's going to the line less this year (1.3 times per game in 23 minutes per night compared with 1.6 in 17.8 minutes) because he's hitting more frequently, he said.
"I do feel confident going to the line and everything feels great," Vanderbilt said. "Even the misses I feel are good misses, on point. I have great rhythm and good confidence going to the line now."
Vanderbilt said he also changed how he practices free throws, and tries to simulate game conditions more often when practicing, like getting himself a little winded before he steps to the line. That's essential for someone like Vanderbilt, who relies on his hustle to make an impact.
"I'm flying around, and now you're trying to hold your composure at the free-throw line and it's like going from 100 and trying to tone it down to zero," Vanderbilt said. "A lot of it was breathing technique, trying to calm myself down and going from flying around to trying to find peace and shoot a free throw."
Giving for the holidays
The Wolves held their annual Christmas event Tuesday in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities in which they surprised 15 members of the organization's "Dream Team" who spent time with players opening gifts and receiving others. The children received $500 Target gift cards and a 43-inch TCL TV.
Wolves owner Marc Lore also spent time at Second Harvest food bank with coach Chris Finch, who is on the board of the organization. Lore posted to Twitter that he and Finch were filling 40-pound bags of potatoes.
"Quickly realized the big ones were like 3-pointers — higher efficiency!" Lore tweeted.
Guard Patrick Beverley returned from a six-game absence because of a left adductor strain, but D'Angelo Russell missed his second consecutive game because of right ankle soreness. Karl-Anthony Towns (tailbone) came into the game questionable after he said he felt "terrible" following Monday's game. But he was in the lineup.