DALLAS – Jarrett Culver looked exhausted and let out a sigh as he tried to do the math in his head.
“I think it’s over 100,” he said, answering a question about how many friends and family were attending Wednesday’s game against the Mavericks.
It’s the second time Culver, the former Texas Tech star and Lubbock native, was playing in Texas in the past week after a visit to San Antonio before Thanksgiving.
Culver has had a typical rookie season — there have been flashes of promise mixed with inconsistency. But one of the surprises he hopes to improve has been his free-throw shooting. At Texas Tech, Culver was a 69% free-throw shooter. With the Wolves, he is shooting only 41% on 2.2 attempts per game. Culver didn’t seem worried when asked if the struggles have affected his confidence.
“Just trust the process,” Culver said. “I’ve put in a lot of work, so I trust it and I know it’s going to fall.”
Nor was Ryan Saunders worried when discussing it at practice earlier in the week.
“I’m not concerned because he works,” Saunders said. “He puts the work in and I’m going to continue to be who I am and that’s positive in nature. He is somebody who is going to be a very good player in this league, and I tell him that every day just so he remembers that. But he knows that and you feel confident in yourself if you’re putting the work in.”
Before point guard Shabazz Napier returned to the lineup Sunday, Jeff Teague began coming off the bench. Now, with Napier back in the fold, Saunders is attempting to juggle how best to distribute minutes between his two bench ballhandlers. Sometimes it will mean they will be on the floor at the same time.
“I’ve been doing this since college, playing with another guard,” Napier said. “So for me, it’s exciting to be on the court with another guy that’s quick and another guy that knows how to play the game real well.”
Given how much time Napier missed, Teague said they were still feeling out how the chemistry would work between them.
“I don’t think we played enough minutes to really get a feel of it,” Teague said.
But that’s likely to change with the Wolves committed to Teague coming off the bench to allow Andrew Wiggins to be the primary ballhandler with the starters.
Added Napier: “One of the biggest things when you play a two-guard lineup is if you got guys that want to play defense, it works well. If you don’t, it’s not going to work well.”
Layman not on trip
Jake Layman (left toe injury) did not make the trip to Dallas, Saunders said, while Layman recovers from his injury. Saunders does not have a definitive timetable on his return, but Layman was still in a walking boot as recently as Sunday.
The Wolves also recalled guard Jordan McLaughlin from the G-League.