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Tim Ohlbrecht Looks Ahead To NBA After Two Successful D-League Seasons

Tim Ohlbrecht has had a successful Summer League thus far, averaging 7.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in just over 20 minutes per game. The 6-11, 240 pound big man has focused on helping the Pistons begin 2-0 in Orlando, while also looking ahead to a potential NBA roster spot.

Dennis Grombkowski

After spending the first seven years of his professional basketball career in Germany, Tim Ohlbrecht made his way over to the United States and has since played two seasons in the D-League. In this two-year span, the 25-year-old has come to know one thing: success.

With the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the 2012-2013 campaign, he averaged 13.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 32 regular season games. While on assignment from the affiliated Houston Rockets, Ohlbrecht helped the team reach the postseason and eventually win their second title in franchise history, beating the Santa Cruz Warriors.

This past season, Ohlbrecht again began the year strong before being traded to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. With his new squad, the big man picked up where he left off and led the number one-seeded Mad Ants to their first D-League title in franchise history.

Fast-forward to July 2014, and Ohlbrecht is again on a mission; to find and secure an NBA roster spot. His time in the league has been limited, appearing in a total of just eight games thus far. Heading into the fall, Ohlbrecht is hoping his determination and talent will give him the opportunity to help become a valuable contributor in the best basketball league on the planet. spoke with Ohlbrecht live from Orlando Summer League on multiple topics, such as the early Detroit success in the Summer League, differences in style of play between leagues and continents, and more.

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Ridiculous Upside: The Pistons are currently in the front of the pack at the Summer League; what has been the key to the team's success?

Tim Ohlbrecht: I think we have really good chemistry. We play as a team on the court and we're one off the court, too. The guys on the bench are cheering for the guys on the court. I think we are playing really well. We have a complete team.

RU: How does the NBA style of play differ from the D-League style of play?

Ohlbrecht: The D-League style of basketball is the same as in the NBA. Just talent level-wise, it's a little bit lower in the D-League.  But it's the same basketball style. Same intensity. There are athletes on the court. I learned a lot in the D-League how the NBA and American basketball is like. I like it.

RU: How does the Europe style of play differ the style of play here in the States?

Ohlbrecht: Playing overseas, the game is a lot slower than in America. Not as many fast-breaks, not as much pushing the ball or up-and-down play. It's more half-court type play. High-scores are like 80, 85. The difference is speed of the game. And of course, Americans who come to Europe make the game faster but Europeans aren't as athletic for the most part. That's just the way it is.

RU: If NBA teams feel you need more time before making the jump to the league, would you accept playing in the D-League another season? Or would you rather go play overseas?

Ohlbrecht: We have to decide that after everything. I'm just here to play the best that I can. If this doesn't work out, I'm either going back to the D-League or going to Europe. The main thing now is to show Detroit that I'm their guy, am able fit in their system and if not, then maybe another NBA team.

RU: Are you ready to be a valuable contributor in the NBA right now?

Ohlbrecht: I think you when you got invited to Summer League, you gotta be ready. I know I have the ability to do it. I just have to show them I can, work hard and show I can be used on a team.