PRO TEAM: BK Ventspils
VITALS: 6'7", 226 lbs.
YEAR DRAFTED: 2013 by Memphis (Round 2, Pick 60)
RIGHTS HELD BY: Orlando Magic
Does the name Janis Timma sound familiar to you? It probably shouldn't, but the name that appeared at the very bottom of the 2013 NBA Draft board reared its head this past week. It popped up because Timma was the first man to be traded for Luke Ridnour during Ridnour's tumultuous four trade draft week. (I'll get to the last man to be traded for Ridnour tomorrow). So now as the property of the Orlando Magic, Timma has a new team to impress if he is to come to the NBA. Let's see how his career has gone thus far.
Timma's basketball odyssey began with a bang at the U-16 European Championships in 2008. Latvia didn't last very long, and Janis only averaged a point a game. The tournament featured future NBA starters Jonas Valanciunas and Enes Kanter, so even in a bit role Timma got scout's eyes on him at an early age.
Janis began his professional basketball career at the age of 17. He moved from his hometown of Krāslava to Rīga, to play for ASK Rīga. He would get good run in a twelve game stint with the reserve squad, but would only have one three pointer on his scoring ledger in nine games for the senior club. The army based organization would dissolve at the end of the 2008-09. The more talented members of the squad, including Timma, would go on to play for the newly formed DSN Rīga in the Latvian second division.
Timma would help DSN Rīga gain promotion to the first division. He also would get his second crack at playing internationally with Latvia's U-18 squad at the 2010 U-18 European Championships. The U-18 division is split into three categories based on the level of competitiveness a team is able to put forth. Latvia is in the highest bracket and during 2010 finished third behind perennial European powers Lithuania and Russia. Timma averaged 11.2 points and 4.0 rebounds a game for the Latvian national team. Timma's best game came in the quarterfinals against Croatia when he put up 16 and 6 against the two-time champions.
Following his time at Rīga, Timma secured a transfer to Latvian side BK Liepājas Lauvas for the 2011-12 season. He came into his own as a player in his first full-fledged season in the first division, improving his scoring average by two full points. That was mostly a product of improving his averages from two, three, and the free throw line markedly. He once again saw international duty in 2011 for Latvia at the U-19 World Championships. He remained a starter even with the bump up in age bracketing but Latvia weren't nearly as successful as they were in the European Championships a year prior. They were eliminated from the championship rounds on point differential despite going 2-1. They would lose in the ninth place game to a Brazil team featuring future Raptor Lucas Nogueira.
Timma really started showing up on the draft radar the next season when he moved to Latvian powerhouse BK Ventspils. Ventspils had won a record-tying eight Latvian championships before his arrival. Timma's first season wouldn't produce a league title, they finished second, but it would produce the club's first Baltic League championship. The Baltic League is a tiny secondary competition featuring nations surrounding the Baltic Sea. Timma was named the MVP of the Finals after scoring 25 points over the two legs. He would follow that up by declaring for the NBA Draft.
2013-14 was a banner year for both Ventspils and Timma. Timma was the final selection by Memphis in the 2013 NBA Draft. After a cameo for the Grizzlies in the Vegas Summer League, Timma would return to Latvia and continue to raise his stock as a player. He got called up to the Latvian senior national team. He guided Ventspils to the playoffs averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds a game. He would be named Playoffs MVP after Ventspils won their record breaking ninth LBL title. This success allowed Timma the chance to return to Rīga for VEF Rīga for the 2014-15 season.
Janis couldn't have been happy that his time in the '14-'15 Summer League for Memphis was cut short before he ever got on the scoresheet. His season in Latvia would surely cheer him up though. He would win a second consecutive LBL title and got to showcase his talents for the first time in the Eurocup and Russian-based VBL United League secondary competitions. Though his production dipped, he was still named to the 2015 LBL All-Star Game where he would win MVP after a record 41 point outburst. He also added VTB Young Player of the Year to his expanding trophy case. His showing in that competition was viewed by some as the impetus for his most this past season to BC Zenit St. Petersburg. After that, the aforementioned trade for Ridnour would get NBA executives bantering about him again. He is on a two year deal with Zenit, so it will be at least that long before his new team, Orlando, can think of bringing the 23 year old over. The way his career is arcing though, Timma can only have one gesture to display his thoughts of his future in the NBA.
Thanks for reading the twenty-sixth installment of Draft Rights Retained right here on Bleeding Your Colors! I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to bringing you more wacky stories of players who the NBA has long since forgotten, but not their draft rights. Stay locked for a new profile until the list is exhausted. For more of me, check out my Twitter @TREVORutley and the official Bleeding Your Colors Twitter @B3WHYC3. For less of me, try to turn your computer into a Ninja Turtle by covering it in toxic ooze.
Image Credits: Timma on Latvia (3sob.com), Timma Thumbs Up (twitter.com)