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There is no dismissing the importance that stars LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade played in helping Miami win its NBA title a week ago. However, that championship became a lot easier to secure when creaky, old Mike Miller came off of the bench and sank 7 of 11 shots, including 7 of 8 from three-point range.
The message Miller sent is that successful teams are comprised of parts, not just stars, and that is where former Purdue standout Robbie Hummel could enter the picture.
“I think substance wins,” Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter said. “Don't get away from that. With Rob, his teams always win.”
Hummel – and Painter for that matter – are hoping to hear Hummel's name tonight at the NBA Draft, but even if they don't, Painter doesn't know if that is necessarily a bad thing.
“The feedback we are getting it looks like he'll get drafted somewhere in the second round,” Painter said. “But there are no guarantees and there is no guarantee that that is the best thing for him either.”
Painter indicated that former Boilermaker center Brad Miller was a perfect example of that. The Kendallville native went undrafted and found the right fit in Charlotte to begin his career, which has now lasted 14 seasons in the NBA.
“Everything in the draft gets to be a little bit of an ego trip,” Painter said. “Everyone wants to get drafted, but there are guys out there that don't get drafted and are able to pick the right organization to start with.”
After enduring a pair of knee surgeries, Hummel has faced as many questions about his health as he has about any weaknesses in his game. But Painter believes that the focus shouldn't be on Hummel's weaknesses, any NBA team should just watch him as a player and that should be enough to show that the Valparaiso native can survive at the next level.
“I think anyone can examine what I guy does poorly,” Painter explained. “But I'm a big believer in keeping your focus on what I guy does to help you win. Rob's a skilled guy that understands the game, he defers to others, (and) he makes the extra pass. He'll do whatever the organization needs for him to be successful like he's done at every level.”
Hummel has the perimeter shooting ability that is very similar to Mike Miller's, which could lead teams to slot him as a small forward. However, at Purdue, he spent a lot of time playing the power forward position and could do that at the next level with certain match-ups. Painter doesn't get caught up in that debate, he simply sees Hummel as a skilled basketball player that helps his team win.
“Some people are set specific, we aren't that way, we just play to the strengths of our team,” Painter said. “Rob Hummel is a basketball player. We played him as a big guard; he brought the ball up the court. He shot a lot of three-pointers, yet he guarded the four (power forward). Technically, people will say that he is a face-up four, but when he plays, he's just a big guard. Anybody that doesn't understand that and says that we didn't play him at the right position, I would argue that they don't know what the Hell they are talking about. They don't know the game of basketball.”