Get To Know: Price, Brown, Jeffers and Hummel
Get To Know: Price, Brown, Jeffers and Hummel
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The honest truth is that there is likely only one spot, maybe two, that is up for grabs right now. The thing is, there are likely four players fighting for that position and they all come from different backgrounds. Then again, everyone’s path into the NBA is a bit different.
Timberwolves.com got the chance to chat with these four players after Tuesday’s first training camp practice about what this whole process was like and what they came away with.
A.J. Price, Guard
This isn’t Price’s first rodeo. The 26-year old guard spent last season with the Washington Wizards and averaged career-highs with 7.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.6 in 57 games and started 22 in place of John Wall.
The former University of Connecticut All-American is familiar with the team’s new general manager, Milt Newton. Newton spent last season in Washington as well.
With the Wolves having Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea at the point guard spot, playing time will come sparingly, but Price is ready for the challenge and thinks he can learn quickly in the next three days of camp.
“In terms of the schemes, when you’ve been around the league for a while, you understand the things that teams do. A lot of the sets are the same, but the language is just the difference,” Price said. “In terms of impressing, the coaches know what you can do. They’ve seen you… Not going to do nothing new.”
Price spent most of the practice on a team with Othyus Jeffers, Lorenzo Brown, Robbie Hummel, Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng. Of that group, Price looked the most comfortable and much of that has to do with his experience. Before his time in Washington, he spent three seasons in Indiana.
For the first day, Price thought it was exactly what the first day should have been like.
“I feel good. It felt good to be out here. It felt like we had a good team camaraderie for the first day. We put a lot of stuff in today and I think we’ll get better.”
Lorenzo Brown, Guard
Brown was the lone player out of this group who was drafted in the 2013 NBA Draft, as he was selected with the 52nd overall pick.
The former North Carolina State point guard played a bit cautious on Monday trying to learn all the schemes, but impress coaches at the same time.
“It was real nerve wracking at the beginning. I was having a little conversation about what was going to all go on, but I mean it worked out towards the end of practice. It was fun,” Brown said.
For Brown, it will be crucial for him to learn as much from the veterans as he possibly can. Tuesday was a good start as he was thrown right in the fire in scrimmage going up against Rubio.
“Rubio and J.J., they were out there talking to us during the whole practice,” Brown said. “You learn a lot from just watching those guys and learning how to work the offense.”
Learning from Rubio has some extra advantages for Brown because of his game-style. He has the body of a shooting guard, standing at 6-foot-5, but his game is that of a point and it showed in college as he led the ACC with 7.2 assists per game. Many scouts had him pegged as a first-round talent, but some weren’t sure if he was ready for the NBA game quite yet.
On Tuesday, he showed flashes of brilliance, especially during 4-on-4 drills, which is especially impressive because of how crowded the half court is.
The goal for Brown is to not rush anything and learn. During practice head coach Rick Adelman told players the worst thing they could do is stop after making mistake. It looks like Brown is taking Adelman’s advice. Probably not a bad idea for the rookie.
“Really just take your time with it, we are still new guys,” Brown said. “We are going to make mistakes. Just don’t think about those mistakes you made and keep playing.”
Othyus Jeffers, Guard/Forward
Jeffers shares a bit in common with Price when it comes to his experience. He’s no wide-eyed rookie. At 28 years old, Jeffers has bounced around from the D-League, overseas and NBA throughout the last six seasons.
Last season he played for the D-League’s Iowa Energy.
Jeffers had his ups and downs on Tuesday, but everytime he made a mistake, he was asking for advice or correcting himself on the fly which is encouraging.
The length of the practice was something that surprised Jeffers.
“It’s a long day. It was the first time I ever did four and a half, five hour straight, but I picked up a lot of things playing with these vets like Kevin Martin,” Jeffers said. “He schooled me a lot, but at the same time, I was able to work on other people. I look at it as a great day and look to add on to it.”
If Jeffers does crack the squad, it will be because of his work ethic, his versatility to play both the 2 and the 3, and his ability to play defense, something that the Wolves will need at the perimeter spots. All of those traits impressed the Wolves in July while playing for the team’s Summer League squad.
Even though the Wolves only have camp for four days, Jeffers is willing to be patient and eventually he’ll think his skills will be showcased.
“Eventually they are going to let you get your reps. It’s about identifying and fixing. I thought I identified what I was doing wrong and fixed those things and starting standing out,” Jeffers said. “I try to stick to the things I’m good at. One of the thing for me is defense, and I let that carry off to my offense.”
Robbie Hummel, Forward
Fans are probably most familiar with Hummel, who was selected 58th overall in the 2012 draft by the Wolves. Previous to that he was a foe of Minnesota, having played his college career at Purdue.
The staff is most familiar with Hummel out of this bunch and he’s hoping that pays off. After practice, he was putting in the extra work with Kevin Love. The two forwards shot about 50-75 3-point shots before getting a quick lift in.
Hummel has some versatility as well, being able to play both the 3 and 4. Hummel, like the Wolves, is no stranger to injury, though, already having two knee surgeries.
He’s coming into Training Camp off of a solid Summer League showing. Hummel looked the most familiar out of the group as far as schemes and he seemed to flow with the offense, even if his shot wasn’t always falling.
“I don’t feel a step above,” he said. “I feel like we have a lot of good players out here. A lot of guys trying to prove that they belong in the NBA. I definitely feel like I belong, no question about that. I just want to prove who I am, and I want to play.”
Check back in after Wednesday’s Practice for more news on Timberwolves.com