Shabazz Napier didn’t want to talk about his first career triple-double after Saturday’s 113-104 Timberwolves loss to the Thunder at Target Center.
But he did discuss how personally he has taken all the losing the Wolves have done of late, now that their losing streak has extended to nine games. In a poignant postgame interview session, Napier said, “Losing is just one of the hardest things for me to do.”
“It just disrupts everything in my life because basketball is my life,” he added. “It is tough, but we’ve got a great group of guys. Just come into work every day and try to figure it out.”
It’s clear Napier, who had 10 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, cares a lot and he often gives great interviews and is able to explain NBA basketball in a way that helps the casual fan understand it. He says the right things, always complimenting teammates and assigning blame to the team as a whole and to himself when things aren’t going well.
Multiple times in his comments he said that he, as the starting point guard, has to bear responsibility for finding a sense of urgency for the Wolves and to keep them within their style of play.
As for that style of play, Napier said that’s not the reason why the Wolves are losing.
“It’s not holding us back,” Napier said. “When we play that way, we look good. There’s times in games where we get away from it, and it’s my job as a point guard to get us back into it. I have to do a better job of that. But it’s not the game plan that the coach is designing for us. The way we play, you’re supposed to have a lot of possessions. That should be fun for everybody because everybody gets to touch the ball.”
As it relates to the Wolves’ shot selection, Napier said that also has little to do with the Wolves’ recent string of losses.
“I don’t get upset when guys miss shots. I get upset when guys don’t take the shot,” Napier said. “The game tells you what to do. Sometimes throughout the game you don’t listen to the game. The game tells you to shoot the ball, you shoot it. Don’t overthink it. But it’s not the process or our game plan or the way they want us to play. The way they want us to play is the right way. We just got to implement it better.”
Finally, when asked about his triple-double: “I don’t really care about that, man. I could care less. I never did. I’ve said this many times to many people. I can go in a game and throw a thousand turnovers. As long as we win, I don’t give a … Losing’s not me. It’s not none of us. It’s tough, man. It hurts. I really mean it when it hurts. It hurts really bad.”