PHILADELPHIA – Former second-round pick Robbie Hummel has spent the past month trying to prove he belongs on this Timberwolves team because of his versatility and accurate shooting. In Wednesday’s 125-102 victory at Philadelphia, the former Purdue star started for the first time this preseason in what likely was his last audition before management chooses the team’s final roster.
Hummel played nearly 31 minutes and … he made only one of nine shots from the field.
Afterward, though, both Hummel and, more importantly, Wolves coach Rick Adelman sounded like Hummel has done enough to stick around when the team’s final 15-man roster is submitted to the NBA office by Monday.
“I didn’t shoot it very well, obviously, which is disappointing because those are shots that I feel like I made for the last six weeks of camp,” Hummel said. “Obviously, you’ve got to perform when you’re given the opportunity, and I didn’t do that. But otherwise defensively, rebounding, I feel I did a pretty good job of that.”
Hummel, a late second-round pick in 2012 who played in Spain last season, matched up against former USA Basketball roommate and Big Ten nemesis Evan Turner most of the night while delivering a two-point, five-rebound, three-assist, one-turnover, two-foul performance.
“I don’t worry about him not shooting the ball,” Adelman said. “He does all the other little things on the court. He’s always in the right spot defensively. He gets those same shots, he’s going to make shots. I don’t worry about him missing shots. He just fits right in with the team he’s on, whether it’s the first group or the second group.”
And that’s just what Adelman says he wants — the right fit — out of an experiment at the small-forward position in which he started veteran Corey Brewer the first four preseason games, Derrick Williams on Sunday in Montreal, Hummel on Wednesday and might start either Shabazz Muhammad or Othyus Jeffers in Thursday’s finale at Detroit.
Told that Adelman isn’t worried about him making shots, Hummel said, “I don’t either. Those are shots I’ve made for all of camp. Obviously, it’s just disappointing to come out and have the opportunity and not make those. But I know I’m a good shooter. However many minutes I play tomorrow in Detroit, I’ll shoot the ball.”
Adelman played his other four starters less than 18 minutes each Wednesday on a night he used to look at everybody but Brewer, who received the night off.
Adelman said he’ll play his starters something more approaching regular-season minutes on Thursday.
Wolves brass will meet over the weekend to decide who, barring a trade or late free-agent signing, will get the two remaining spots on their 15-man roster.
The way Adelman has been talking about Hummel in recent days, it sure sounds as if the coach really likes the guy who can play both forward spots and might have been a lottery pick if he hadn’t tore up his knee twice in less than a year at Purdue.
“I think he does [like me],” Hummel said. “I think I’ve always been a glue guy who can do a little bit of everything. Hopefully, I can do that. Hopefully, I’ve done enough to make the team. You’ve got to weigh everything. You’ve been playing for a month now. I don’t think a bad shooting night is going to get you cut from the team.
“I feel I played an overall good game. I just didn’t make those shots like I usually do.”
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