Mike Conley knows Timberwolves need him to be more aggressive on offense. That starts now.

This time of the year, the final third of the NBA regular season between the all-star break and the playoffs, goes by “really quickly,” Timberwolves guard Mike Conley noted to reporters Monday.

“That’s why it’s so important to stay locked in and accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish now,” he said. “We want to be working on what we need to work on now going up to March, April, right before the playoffs.”

There are certainly team goals included on that checklist, such as regaining the free-flowing, heavy-movement offense the team dominated with just prior to the all-star break.

But Conley has his own adjustments to make, as well. The 36-year-old veteran has been in enough playoff series to understand what is required to advance. He also has a strong grasp of who the Wolves are and what they’ll need to do to make a deep run.

Included on that list is a more aggressive point guard on offense.

The floor general sports what is easily the lowest usage percentage on that end of the floor of Minnesota’s five starters. That has been by design. Conley has made a point to often even reject his own good looks in the name of generating ball movement and setting an example for others to follow.

But come the playoffs, someone as offensively efficient as Conley, who is shooting a blistering 44 percent from deep this season. can’t pass up good shots, whether it be a perimeter jumper or a driving attempt to get into the lane.

Because, in the playoffs, you may only get one really good look per possession. That’s why Conley warned a few teammates ahead of the recent game against Milwaukee that he’s going to start building up his aggression. Against the Bucks, that meant driving and making plays in the paint. Against Brooklyn, it consisted of getting up more triples.

“I’m going to be more and more aggressive and try to ease that burden on those guys and make the game a little bit easier on us,” Conley said.

Conley’s aggression frees up others because if the defense knows he’s a threat to fire every time he touches the ball, which hasn’t been the case all season, then more and more defensive attention needs to be placed on the point guard.

“We need him to score. We need him to be a threat,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “I know there’s a lot of opportunities he’s had through the season and he’s turned down for the sake of the ball movement, the sake of running the next play or next action.”

But that can’t always be the case. Conley’s teammates have to figure out how to play next-action basketball without the point guard always holding their hands throughout the process. He can’t be the one-man generator of good offense.

He has to take some shots, too. Conley has taken more than 11 shots in a game just two times all season. But Conley’s volume generally leads to good things.

The Wolves are 6-1 this season when he attempts eight or more 3-point shots. They are just 8-5 when he attempts three or fewer.

“I do think I need to shoot more. A lot of it is on me and getting myself in those opportunities and positions,” Conley said. “Coach calls plays out of timeouts, but as a team, we’ve got to do a better job of finding guys and moving. I’ll get my shots throughout the flow of the game. I don’t need to force anything. I trust these guys to make the play.”

But he is cognizant that if a look does present himself, he needs to take it, starting now. Because that aggressive muscle needs to be built up by mid-April, when the Wolves will need it most.

“It’s a different mentality, it’s a different effort you’ve got to put in. I’ve had that mentality on defense all year where I’ve tried to work myself to guard and run and guard,” Conley said. “Now, it’s going to be where you guard and get down to the other end and make shots, make plays and make decisions without getting fatigued. I think I’ve built up for it. I’ve made it this far through the season, built my body up for it and feel good.”

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