Shot value charts are a staple of the Timberwolves practice courts — green for good, red for bad. The green decals are placed near the rim, just beyond the three-point line and the free-throw line. The red ones are there for long twos.
Any little psychological trick coach Ryan Saunders can use to get players to adhere to those objectives, he'll try.
Saunders will have a few talking points for the Wolves after their 107-105 preseason loss to Memphis on Saturday night at Target Center. They took 14 midrange shots, after averaging just 6.5 such shots per game last season.
Ideally there would be none. A few are acceptable if they are wide-open looks.
Saunders didn't especially like the kind the Wolves were taking in their first game in more than nine months.
"I haven't changed how I thought over the summer or during quarantine," Saunders said with a smile when asked about the high number of those shots. "We have our shot values. We have shots that we know are high points per possession shots, those being rim twos, free throws and open threes. I thought a lot of our midrange shots were settles."
By that, Saunders means the Wolves could have worked for a better shot. He did think there were a few smart midrange shots that were open or players had no choice but to hoist one because the shot clock was running low.
To underscore Saunders' point about their inefficiency, the Wolves hit only three of those 14 attempts.
Guard D'Angelo Russell was responsible for three of those attempts and one of those makes. The midrange jumper is a part of Russell's game — between Golden State and the Wolves, he took 3.9 per game last season and hit 49% of them.
"You got to respect what Coach is asking for," Russell said. "At the end of the day, you got to respect the way we're trying to play, stay within the system and still try to be yourself. Just figuring out that balance throughout the game. All these games and practices, we're trying to use this time to take advantage of it."
Rookie Anthony Edwards also took three midrange shots, hitting one. Edwards did pull the trigger on five threes, hitting one.
There's plenty to iron out with the offense, such as the 22 turnovers the Wolves committed.
They will have another chance to do all this Monday in a rematch against the Grizzlies and then again Thursday at Dallas before starting the season Dec. 23 against Detroit.
Saunders has said he can deal with midrange jumpers if the right players shoot them under the right circumstances. But it's a balance this group will have to find.
"It's tough sometimes to categorize it as you took a lot of midrange shots," Saunders said. "Sometimes for certain guys it might not be as a frowned upon shot as it may be for other guys or at certain points within the shot clock. It'll be something we're working on."