All Access: Robbie Hummel At Summer League
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To try to fully comprehend the range of emotions Robbie Hummel has felt over the past three seasons is not an easy task. In the span of just 10 months, Hummel went from projected first round pick to a player simply hoping to play again—suffering two ACL injuries to his right knee in that span and missing a year and a half of play.
And even after returning to Purdue after missing what would have been his senior year, scoring 16.4 points and adding 7.2 rebounds per game in 2011-12, the questions surrounding his durability were still there. During the Draft process he spent weeks at a time on the road, meeting with NBA teams across the country trying to not only show his talent on the court but also persuading team executives that he was healthy.
When Draft night came on June 28, that range of emotions hit its peak. It wasn’t until he heard NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver call his name as the Minnesota Timberwolves took him 58th overall—three spots before the final selection of the night—that he was able to fully exhale.
The uncertainty was over. Now the real journey was beginning.
“My agent told me it’s going to be one of the worst nights of your life, so I was like, ‘It can’t be that bad.’ But it kind of was,” Hummel said, laughing. “I’m glad it’s over and I’m glad it worked out.”
This week Hummel finds himself fin Las Vegas with the Timberwolves’ Summer League roster. He’s here with 18 other players—some already on the roster and others simply trying to make themselves known to NBA personnel—and he knows he has a lot to prove over the course of the week. Hummel’s always been a shooter, a guy who took the big shot for Purdue, but with the Wolves that won’t necessarily be what helps him make the roster.
During the five games in Vegas, he’s prepared to show the coaching staff the other parts of his game that would make him a valuable asset on the regular season roster.
“At 6-8 I think I’m a pretty good rebounder, I have a pretty good handle for the ball and I think I understand the concepts offensively and defensively pretty good,” he said.
Over the past week, he’s tried to convey that message. Working through Minnesota’s challenging two-a-day minicamp over the weekend and having played two games in Las Vegas heading into Thursday’s tilt with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Hummel is getting his first taste of NBA life and what he can contribute to the team.
He’s played about 31 minutes in those first two contests, shooting 5-for-11 with 12 points and eight rebounds. Like most of his teammates, he’s getting used to the Timberwolves system and is learning a little bit more each day.
He said even though it was a difficult wait on draft day, landing with this club was worth it. Not only does he have family in the area, but Minnesota is an up and coming team with a style of play that fits Hummel’s skill set.
“I think coach [Rick] Adelman’s system is something I fit well into,” Hummel said. “I talked with Carl Landry and Brad Miller about what type of coach he is, and they’ve been very helpful. But no, I was excited. I think with the assistants who have been working with us, even coach [Shawn] Respert and coach Adelman’s son [David], I think it’s been great.”
After the uncertainty of his two right ACL injuries and the grueling process getting healthy, Hummel is as close to 100 percent as he’s been since before his first injury in 2010. This week, wearing a Wolves uniform and playing in the Summer League, he finds himself living his dream of playing in the NBA.
It was worth the wait.
“It was important for me to make it to this point,” he said. “I think I always wanted to because as a little kid I grew up wanting to play in the NBA, so this is the first step. So it feels good to have reached that, but I know I have a lot of work to do to make the Timberwolves team.”