Long wait, then a familiar name for the Wolves

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 29, 2012 - 11:51 AM

The Timberwolves were unsuccessful in getting back into the first round Thursday, then took former Purdue star Robbie Hummel with the 58th pick.


Forward Robbie Hummel was selected by the Wolves in the second round of the NBA draft.

Photo: Charlie Neibergall, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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A year ago, the Timberwolves got busy on draft night, parlaying the 20th overall pick into five cascading trades that ultimately brought them UCLA guard Malcolm Lee, Memphis' 2013 first-round pick, a couple of future second-round picks and four wads of cash.

On Thursday, by comparison, they could have put their collective feet up on the desk and ordered in pizza while they waited almost all night before choosing Purdue forward Robbie Hummel with the 58th pick, third from last in the second round.

The Wolves did their draft work Monday night and Tuesday morning, when they finalized a trade with Houston that sent Thursday's 18th pick away for 24-year-old swingman Chase Budinger.

On Thursday, they made proposals to obtain a first-round pick but didn't succeed, waiting instead for more than four hours while New Orleans took Kentucky forward Anthony Davis first overall and the Rockets selected Kentucky forward Terrence Jones with that 18th pick they got from the Wolves.

While teams such as Cleveland and Philadelphia wheeled and dealed either to move up in the first round or obtain an extra pick, the Wolves worked the phones but ultimately sat out the first round and sat tight at 58 after they were unable to move up in the second.

As 11 p.m. approached, they took Hummel, a 6-8 forward who tore his anterior cruciate ligament twice within eight months during his collegiate career, the first time at Williams Arena during a February 2010 game against the Gophers.

Both Hummel, who was All-Big Ten first team three times, and the Boilermakers were rolling when he planted his foot, slipped and felt the ACL tear.

"It'd be great," he said about the prospect of playing for the Wolves after a pre-draft workout at Target Center last month. "I have a lot of family up here. Obviously Williams Arena is kind of a sore spot for me, but I wouldn't mind it."

Hummel missed the entire 2010-11 season and played 35 games last season, his senior year. He averaged 16.4 points and played 32 minutes a game, but said even though he got better as the season progressed, he never got all the way back to complete.

The probability that he will get back to being the player he was before the injuries is why Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said the team took Hummel with their only pick of the night. Kahn says Hummel will have a chance to make the roster come this fall.

"Robbie was quite a player before his injury, quite a player," Kahn said. "In fact, if he hadn't been hurt, most people would agree he would be a first-round pick in our draft. When you're picking 58th, the opportunity to pick somebody who at one point was a consensus first-round pick is a risk worth taking."

On Wednesday, Kahn promised there would be more moves beyond acquiring Budinger. He didn't, however, promise they would come Thursday.

And they didn't.

Kahn said the team pursued trades that would have gotten it back in the first round. He said they were interested in a player available late in the first round -- he wouldn't name the player, but Duke center Miles Plumlee went 26th to Indiana after working out at Target Center on Tuesday -- but couldn't make a deal to get him.

"I wouldn't say close because I know what close feels like," Kahn said.

After Thursday came and went, the Wolves' options now include making a trade or trades either now or as training camp approaches in late September. They also could have well more than $10 million to spend when the NBA's free-agency period opens Sunday if they don't make qualifying offers to Michael Beasley and Anthony Randolph, don't pick up Martell Webster's $5.7 million option for next season or either trade or amnesty Darko Milicic's contract.

Budinger's arrival gives them a player who knows coach Rick Adelman's system and who can play at both small forward and shooting guard, but it doesn't fully address the team's need for a legitimately sized shooting guard. Their free-agent wish list is expected to include unrestricted free agents Jamal Crawford and Brandon Roy and possibly restricted free agents O.J. Mayo and Courtney Lee.

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