Wolves Season in Review: Robbie Hummel


This is Part Seven of the Wolves Season in Review player capsules. We’ll be looking at every player that finished the season on the Wolves roster, excluding ten-day contract signees. We’re starting with the players that played the fewest minutes and working our way up the roster to those that logged the most playing time. Today’s featured player is Robbie Hummel.

It was a tale of two seasons for Robbie Hummel in 2015-16. To complicate things even more, that second season was interrupted by a broken bone in his hand, causing the second-year forward to only appear in 45 games on the season.

Hummel’s re-signing last off-season was a seemingly minor footnote for many Wolves fans, but it was exactly the kind of move that the organization has overlooked or under-thought all too frequently in the past.

The forward from Purdue was a very solid rookie, shooting 36% from three-point range, rarely turning the ball over, and rebounding well for a player who has lost a great deal of athleticism and explosiveness due to multiple knee surgeries over the course of his college career. He only played 12.4 minutes per game as a rookie, but did what he was asked and contributed positively.

This year, however, Hummel was buried at the end of the bench to start these season. He didn’t play in two of the first three games and only averaged 11.3 minutes per contest for the remainder of the 2014 calender year. Flip Saunders then elected to not play Hummel in three of four games bridging New Year’s before injuries began to take their toll and force his hand.

Hummel then played heavy minutes (23.2 per game over 11 contests, starting four) until injuring his wrist against the Atlanta Hawks on January 25. He didn’t return until March 29, and in the final nine games of the season he averaged 22.5 minutes on a thin Wolves roster.

The downside, other than the injury woes, was that Hummel’s shooting efficiency slipped significantly. While being asked to play more small ball power forward versus small forward, not to mention playing in Saunders’ system versus Rick Adelman‘s offense, Hummel only attempted 29.7% of his shots from beyond the arc and 41.3% of his shots inside the arc but more than 16 feet from the rim.

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That’s compared to last season, when those numbers were the inverse: 50.3% of Hummel’s field goal attempts were three-pointers and 27.1% came from more than 16 feet but inside the arc.

In addition, Hummel only made threes at a 31.4% clip. The decrease in both attempts and percentage of makes caused him to be less effective in 2014-15. The rebounding rate saw a bit of a dip too, which was curious considering that he played 63% of his minutes at the four this season according to Basketball-Reference.com.

At any rate, Hummel will be a restricted free agent this summer. He’s exactly the type of player that a savvy organization like San Antonio, Atlanta, or Toronto would pick up to fill out the 10th-12th spots on their roster, but there remains a solid chance that he’s back in Minnesota.

I’d love to bring him back, as playing Robbie Hummel at power forward will be more conducive to winning than either Adreian Payne or Anthony Bennett. If the Wolves can move either Payne or Bennett and manage to land Karl-Anthony Towns in the draft, Hummel would be a nice backup at the combo forward for the 2015-16 and possibly beyond.

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