OSIPOFF: Free agent Robbie Hummel looks to build on strong rookie finish
By Michael Osipoff firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MichaelOsipoff June 11, 2014 9:32PM
Minnesota Timberwolves' Robbie Hummel plays against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won 112-101. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) ORG XMIT: MNJM10
Robbie Hummel Basketball Camp
Who: Boys and girls from kindergarten through ninth grade
When: June 17 to 20 (Session 1, grades K-5, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. each day; Session 2, grades 6-9, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day)
Where: The Fieldhouse-Merrillville
Cost: $115 for either session
For more information, call The Fieldhouse-Merrillville at 738-2424 or visit thefieldhouse-merrillville.com
Updated: July 13, 2014 5:18PM
The grind of an NBA season can take a toll on a rookie, even one with more experience than most, even one playing a relatively limited role.
But Robbie Hummel wasn’t quite ready for his debut season with the Minnesota Timberwolves to end — and not simply because they didn’t make the playoffs.
With an expanded opportunity late in the season, in part because of a rash of injuries to teammates, Hummel closed on an upswing.
“It was really good for me,” the Valparaiso High and Purdue graduate said.
“The NBA is so athletic, and space gets closed down so fast. Sometimes something that looks open on TV isn’t as open as you think. Playing with the best athletes in the world in terms of running and jumping, those physical gifts, it’s not overwhelming, but you certainly have to adjust and get used to it.”
Hummel demonstrated he had made that transition as he appeared in 19 of the Timberwolves’ last 20 games, including the final 14. He played at least 29 minutes in five of their last seven games, maxing out at 35 against the Spurs on April 8; that stretch also included him scoring a career-high 12 points in 33 minutes at the Magic on April 5, and posting 10 points and a career-high nine rebounds in 32 minutes against the Jazz in the season finale on April 16. In those seven games, in which he made three of his five starts, he averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in 26.4 minutes.
For the season, in 53 games, Hummel averaged 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.4 minutes, shooting 37.9 percent from the field, including 36.0 from 3-point range. He didn’t play for 14 straight games, including accumulating 13 of his 18 inactives, from Jan. 8 to Feb. 14. The minimal minutes continued through early March, before his down-the-stretch surge.
“The year went really well overall,” Hummel said. “I didn’t shoot the ball as well as I would’ve liked early in the year, but it was better at the end. I defended well, showed I could guard people on the perimeter. And probably the best thing I did was rebounding — chasing rebounds out of my space, going to get them, not just the ones that came to me. In terms of Year 1, it was a huge success. I’m looking forward to next year.”
Hummel is a restricted free agent, meaning the Timberwolves can match any offer he receives from another team. He would like to return to Minnesota, saying there has been “positive dialogue,” but anything is possible. The Timberwolves’ coaching change, with Rick Adelman retiring and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders returning to the bench, shouldn’t have much of an impact on his situation.
“It’ll be an interesting first experience with free agency (which officially begins on July 1),” said Hummel, who has already survived the departure of the front office personnel who selected him in the second round (58th overall) of the 2012 draft, before he headed to Spain for a season. “I’ve seen the madness on TV, now it’s my turn to live it.
“But the business, that’s all (agent) Mark (Bartelstein). Maybe I’ll go to summer league, maybe not. We’ll see what happens. But as far as what I have do, I have to stay in shape.”
To that end, Hummel has been working out — with a group that has included Luke Harangody, who was playing in Russia, and E’Twaun Moore on occasion — in Chicago, where he has been living this offseason.
He’ll be at The Fieldhouse in Merrillville next week to hold his second youth basketball camp. Former Purdue teammates Lewis Jackson and D.J. Byrd, as well as former Northwestern standout John Shurna, are among the possible counselors. Plans were in the works to have Moore stop by for a day.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Hummel said. “It’s a really good group of guys working, they have a lot of fun doing it. And, more importantly, it’s a lot of fun for the kids.”