After sitting out all of the 2010-2011 season with his second torn ACL, Robbie Hummel
has returned for his fifth season at Purdue, where he finds himself playing for the first time without classmates JaJuan Johnson
and E'Twaun Moore, both of whom are now playing in the NBA. Their departures have thrust Hummel into a larger role offensively, which so far he's handled with mixed results.
The 6'8 face-up power forward has changed his body quite a bit since arriving at Purdue with a skinny, under-developed frame back in 2007. While his stronger, bulkier upper body helps him compete with opposing Big Ten big men, he has noticeably lost some of his mobility and quickness, which may change the way scouts envision him potentially fitting in at the NBA level.
Perhaps Hummel's biggest asset as an NBA prospect is his ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. Playing the four spot at Purdue, he's able to draw opposing big men away from the basket and get many of his looks spotting up. He's shooting a solid 39% from 3-point range so far this season, fairly consistent with his previous years. This is impressive considering his increase in attempts and the higher degree of difficulty as the team's primary scorer. He has a quick release and a high release point, allowing him to get off of his shot without needing much space, whether spotting up or running off screens.
He also does a nice job utilizing shot-fakes on close-outs and is able to put the ball on the floor for a few dribbles in either direction to set himself up for pull-up jumpers. He's struggled with his jump shot off the dribble this season, however, connecting on only 31% of his attempts, which has led to a mediocre 53% true shooting percentage, the lowest of his career. Some of this may be attributed to getting back to full strength on his knee, as he appears to lack lift when pulling up.
In addition to his outside shooting, Hummel also possesses an excellent feel for the game and a very good overall skill level for a player his size. His lack of explosiveness limits his ability to make plays off the bounce, but he's comfortable handling the ball anywhere on the floor, and he shows good vision and passing instincts.
An appealing trait to NBA teams will likely be Hummel's willingness to accept his limitations and play within the flow of the team concept. Despite the heavy load that he carries offensively for the Boilermakers, he rarely forces the issue, as evidenced by the fact that he's turned the ball over on only 7% of his possessions thus far, leading all forward prospects in our database.
As we've mentioned before, Hummel's biggest question marks as an NBA prospect may come on the defensive end, as he lacks the prototypical athleticism to defend at the NBA level. At this point, Hummel's best chance for success defensively may be playing as a power forward. He doesn't have near the footspeed or lateral quickness to defend NBA small forwards on the perimeter, and while he may still be undersized at 6-8, his added strength would help him against some of the bigger players he'd face on a regular basis.
To help make up for his physical limitations, Hummel shows a very good understanding of positioning and communication, having played for one of the top defensive programs in the NCAA over his last five years. He also plays extremely hard, displaying great toughness and energy. As a below average rebounder as a power forward, he'll need to fight hard on every possession to compete, something that will always likely be considered a shortcoming considering his physical limitations.
A full healthy season may be as important as anything for Hummel as teams will surely have concerns over his chronic injury history (back issues as a sophomore and two torn ACL's). His health issues and lack of physical tools will make landing in the first round a long shot, but if he can prove to be a dependable perimeter shooter, his excellent intangibles and willingness to fill a role should earn him some looks from NBA teams as they look to fill out their final roster spots.