This time last month, Robbie Hummel was fighting for a roster spot. Hummel entered Minnesota Timberwolves training camp as one of 18 players vying for 15 spots with a decent chance of being cut. Along with A.J. Price, he beat out second round pick Lorenzo Brown, preseason standout Othyus Jeffers, and backup center Chris Johnson, who actually had a guaranteed contract, to earn his first NBA job.
Even after making the team, though, Hummel had to realize that 15th men rarely play outside of emergency situations and garbage time. That was indeed the case for Hummel in the Timberwolves’ first few games, and he rarely saw the court.
Apparently Hummel impressed Coach Rick Adelman in practice and garbage time enough to be trusted with a start against the Cleveland Cavaliers last week. Kevin Martin missed the game with the flu, and Corey Brewer, who usually starts at the small forward position, moved over to replace Martin as the starting shooting guard. Adelman could have started a more experienced player in Derrick Williams, who has been trying to play small forward, but he seems to be in Adelman’s doghouse. Shabazz Muhammad, a lottery pick in this year’s draft, also could have earned the starting nod, but Adelman must have had more faith in Hummel.
In that first start, Hummel played 28 minutes and scored 10 points. Since then he’s been a fixture in Adelman’s rotation, averaging 21 minutes per game over the Wolves’ last four contests. He’s played fairly well too, averaging 6.3 points on 50 percent shooting and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Hummel looks to be a solid NBA player, and though his role will diminish once Chase Budinger returns and if Shabazz Muhammad ever does anything, he has certainly made the most of his opportunities thus far. He figures to be an important bench piece on a team that is painfully shallow at nearly every position.