Timma: "Our goal is to defend the title"

VENTSPILS – Janis Timma has been one of the premiere Baltic prospects for the last couple of years and the 21-year-old BK Ventspils forward proved just that by snatching MVP honors for the month of November in the Baltic Basketball League.


The Latvian player, who was awarded the Finals MVP trophy award last year, averaged 17.5 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 steals on 62% shooting from the field, including 6-of-12 three-pointers.

BBL.net sat down with Timma to talk about the ongoing season, his NBA experience and the dream of playing of the Latvian national team, which unfortunately remained unfulfilled.

First of all, congratulations on the award. You were named the Finals MVP last year, now ‒ MVP of the month. Where do you keep these awards and do you have any more space left for new ones?

First if all, thank you all for the greetings. All my greatest titles are kept in my mother’s home and I think there is still enough place for them. Speaking about the amount of titles, there can never be too many and it’s a great feeling to receive them.

The month of November was quite significantly better for you personally, comparing to October. What do you think was the reason behind the improvement?

It’s hard to say why this month was better. I am going to every game as usual, because we know that it will not be easy. Our team is young and we have a lot of up and downs in our performances.

The team has new foreigners, some new local players, but at the same time plenty of players and coach Stelmahers stayed in the club. In your opinion, how are the teams similar or different?

Compared with the last season and now, it is very difficult at the moment, because we have a lot of injured players, who can’t help the team right now. We still have not found an extra big guy under the basket. So I find it hard to compare the teams in this situation.

As the reigning BBL champions, would it be fair to say that anything less than repeating the success would be a disappointment? What do you think are the chances of defending the title?

An unequivocal yes – our main objective is to defend the championship title. It will not be easy until the team isn’t 100 percent ready, but we have already proved that we can play and we can do it well. 

There must be some good and bad memories from the summer ‒ you got selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA Draft, but didn’t travel to EuroBasket 2013 with the Latvian national team.

This summer – it was something I have never had and would like to wish that feeling to every basketball player, because the feelings you get make you even more motivated and show that you can achieve much with hard work and faith. 

Speaking of the national team, of course I’m sorry that I could not help the team with my illness, but I feel that my time has come and I have not lost anything and only got better at practice during the part of the summer I was with the team.

Can you tell us how happy you were to hear your name in the NBA Draft and what was the best NBA experience so far ‒ the draft itself, the Summer League, working out in Memphis?

Of course that was a huge experience, practicing at such a level as the Memphis Grizzlies. Big thanks to all of the coaches and their assistants for their work.  

Do you follow the Memphis Grizzlies results in the NBA, do you maybe watch some of their games?

Yes, this season I am following the Memphis Grizzlies more than before and of course I am keeping track of a lot of the guys I know personally.

 Is EuroBasket 2015 in Ukraine the big goal for you right now in terms of the Latvian national team?

As I mentioned earlier on, the illness was quite the predicament for me, but I just could not get healthy quickly enough to help the team. Speaking of Eurobasket 2015 in Ukraine, of course it is my goal, which I think I will achieve. There is still time to become a better player and prepare for this tournament as well as possible.

What are your goals in the near future, this season with Ventspils and what do you think about the next step in your career, your longer-term ambitions?

About the next steps in my career, just a few words – practice and practice to become a better and more stable player. Then, top basketball will not go anywhere from me.