This is Part Six in a thirteen-part series that will examine all players currently on the Wolves’ roster that played for the team last season. We’ll be omitting Kevin Love, because…well, you know why.
Robbie Hummel was selected with the third-to-last pick in the entire 2012 NBA Draft. After a host of injuries over the course of his college career at Purdue University, there wasn’t a ton of hope for Hummel to stick in the NBA.
Hummel played professionally in Spain in 2012-13 while the Wolves retained his rights, and after coming over to play in Summer League in July of 2013, Hummel made the Wolves’ roster out of training camp.
Ultimately, he played in 53 games including five starts for the 2013-14 Timberwolves. His only clear professional-caliber skill is shooting, and while 36% is nothing to sneeze at, it probably isn’t up to the standards that will keep Hummel in the NBA long-term.
The Wolves, to their credit, correctly recognized that Hummel’s size (6′ 8″), lack of turnovers (just a 5.2% turnover rate in his rookie season), and potential to improve on his 36% three-point percentage are worth the minimum salary. While he is not a good defender after multiple knee surgeries sapped some of his lateral quickness, he can play offensively at either forward position.
Because of his knack for the ball on the boards and his long-range shooting capabilities, Hummel is an effective small-ball power forward. The fact that he is well-aware of his role on offense is possibly the best thing about Hummel; 50.3% of his shot attempts a year ago were from beyond the arc, and his 5.2% turnover rate was the second-lowest of any player that participated in 50 or more games with only Steve Novak posting a lower rate.
If Hummel can truly carve a niche in a Steve Novak-ish role, he’ll have a nice career as a valuable bench player in the NBA. The difference to his point being that Novak is a career 42.3% shooter from long-range. In Hummel’s rookie season, corner threes were his downfall. In today’s NBA, and especially with Ricky Rubio at the helm of the offense, that needs to change.
Unless this changes, it’s tough to see how he’ll sit above tenth or eleventh on the depth chart of the 2014-15 Wolves, as young players with limitless upside and, in the case of Thaddeus Young, superior players will keep him anchored to the bench.
But solid, replacement-level minutes from the end the bench is a nice thing to have, especially to fill in any minutes that the rotation players might lose due to injury.
Hummel was a pleasant surprise as a rookie, and the Wolves correctly identified a replacement-level-type player on a bare-minimum contract to help fill out the roster.
Hopefully, his positive production will continue for the Wolves, and if his three-point percentage can inch upwards just a bit (read: if he can make corner threes), he may be able to find consistent minutes off the Minnesota bench.