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Back to the lonestar state today with the 6th installment of this series, a profile of the Texas Longhorn Jordan Hamilton. Previously I have done in depth scouting reports on Alec Burks, Klay Thompson, Tristan Thompson, Marcus Morris, and Chris Singleton. If interested you can find those profiles elsewhere on this site.
Measuring in at 6’8″ 1/2 and 228lbs, Hamilton has prototypical size for an NBA wing. He is built well with strong legs and a well developed physique in general, and definitely looks the part of an NBA player. Not a freak athlete, but easily well within the range of athleticism needed to play from a physical standpoint in the league.
Let’s look at Hamilton’s offensive game first, which by far is his most impressive end of the floor.
Hamilton isn’t what I would call a pure gunner, but he definitely has a scorer’s mentality….that is the first thing you notice when watching film. When not involved in a play directly, he isn’t too motivated to move well and doesn’t seem to be that engaged. But when a scoring opportunity is within his grasp, Hamilton is aggressive in pursuing it……he definitely has, for lack of a better phrase, an “alpha dog” mentality on the offensive end. Hamilton is a scorer and shot hunter, and he will sometimes take shots that really scratch your head. Shot selection at the NBA level is something that he will have to improve big time, as veterans playing with him won’t appreciate him jacking ill timed shots, nor will he have anywhere near as long a leash in the pro game as had under Texas Coach Rick Barnes.
The thing is, Hamilton can take and make tough shots, which sometimes can give him more confidence than he probably should have. But making tough shots is a skill that can’t be discounted either…..being able to make plays when closely guarded is a valuable skill and one that is more rare than you’d like in this draft.
Hamilton is a really good shooter with deep NBA range. He can get his shot off quickly with repeatable mechanics and a very quick release. I really like his footwork, but more than that I like his shot from waist level and above, as he shoots the ball quickly from his pocket to the release point faster and more consistently than any player I have seen in this draft so far off of a catch and shoot situation. He is a really aggressive and sound cutter, doing an already nice job of rounding cuts and getting his shoulders square as he is catching the ball, not waiting until the catch is made like so many young players do. Being almost 6’9, Hamilton will have no trouble geting his shot off I don’t think in the NBA.
One word of caution on that front however is that he doesn’t get very high lift off the ground. Now, that actually doesn’t bother me in the least….but it will some people. In fact I think in general it helps your accuracy as a jump shooter to not jump that high off the ground, as it makes your mechanics more consistent and repeatable. Think about that some and I believe most will agree. Hamilton in fact did hit*385 from the college three point line and beyond last year, despite being the focal point of opponents defense.
Hamilton has a post game also, unlike some of our current wings. He seals his man on his hip well, and establishes good position. If you feed him the ball in the low post, he can go to either shoulder to score. Though not refined that well, he has a nice baby hook, can drop step with either foot, and can make the turnaround jumper inside over smaller people. Becaus he doesn’t get great lift I don’t think he can do that on bigger players, but if guarded by smaller wings he should be able to be a post up wing threat for you I believe.
Because it is an opportunity to score, Hamilton cuts very hard when he is away from the ball. He will be a good guy to run plays for, as if he knows he is getting a shot opportunity he is going to go max effort for you. He sets up his man well, though he takes off early on screens sometimes a little too often and has to be reminded of that from time to time. Unfortunately he also shows frustration when he cuts hard and DOESNT recieve a pass, and can pout some if he doesn’t get touches…..a sign of either youth and immaturity, or selfishness, depending on whether you like Hamilton or not.
Hamilton is maybe the best rebounding wing in this draft. He is strong as a bull, and seems to really like to rebound, especially on the offensive glass. He is strong enough to move people in his way, and uses brute strength to shove smaller people blocking him out underneath the rim. He averaged nearly 8 boards per game last year, a very good sign. He blocks out well on the defensive glass, though not a great leaper or explosive athlete he was productive in that aspect too.* I can easily see him being a win who produces on average 6 boards a game at the NBA level or so eventually, depending of course on minutes played.
His major weakness offensively is, along with atrocious at times shot selection, is the inability to put the ball on the deck and drive. He really can’t explode past his guy, even if his defender is off balance a little. He shoots his jump shot with a slightly narrower base than ideal, and doesn’t get his legs bent on the catch well enough (which is why he doesn’t lift well in a catch and shoot). That doesn’t hurt him when he just rises and shoots, but when he has to attack dribble his posture and balance is all jacked up. His first dribble especially is too high and doesn’t go anywhere, and lets the defender stay in the play. Hamilton is not a guy who can drive you or a guy who will have isolations ran for him at the next level unless he drastically improves fundamentally his stance and balance on a catch. He has zero left hand at this point, and therefore is fairly easy to scout and game plan for, though in reality there are alot of players who are very “one handed” on their drive (Danny Granger being one of them). The problem is with Hamilton even his ability to go right is questionable.
In the mid range game he is going of course going to struggle, because he cant get separation and he can’t get off the ground well enough….this ends making him take tougher harder to make shots than they would need to be if he had is act together off the dribble. Much of this I think could be fixed if he’d make his last dribble a “super hard” one before he loads and fires off the bounce…..a hidden small technique that really helps off the dribble jump shooters get the ball into the pocket with their legs bent in rhythm, improving technique and accuracy. Right now his last drible seems to just be a normal dribble, which means he has to bend a little and move the ball more to get it in position to load and shoot, throwing off the timing and rhythm of his off the bounce pull up game.
He also shys away from contact, rarely getting to the foul line, too bad because he is a pretty good foul shooter…he just rarely gets there.
So offensively, Hamilton seems to be a big powerful wing who likes to shoot the basketball, and is proficient off a catch and shoot, and has pretty good skills in the elbow and low/mid post area. He takes bad shots, pouts when he doesn’t get the ball sometimes, and cannot drive to the rim. His pull up game has potential but right now isn’t very good either….though like I said, I think he can improve that quite a bit with proper coaching.
So he has some NBA ready offensive skills, has a great body, and is a bull on the backboard…..why isn’t he more highly thought of?
Defensively is the answer.
I don’t think Hamilton is incapable of guarding people. In fact, he has enough athleticism to be decent if not better than that. But defense is more than just having quickness and athleticism, it is about things like “awareness”,* “mental toughness”", “concentration”, “attention to detail”, and “desire”. Hamilton in college displayed none of these traits on a consistent basis.
On the ball he was ok, he has the ability to muscle drivers enough to keep them in front of him. But away from the ball he was bad….never jumping to the ball, playing with his hands down at his sides, not communicating with his teammates, not being in help position, and not knowing where the basketball was. Very much a “man hugger”, he was easy to screen for opponents, and teams could go after him on that end because he either was worried about fouls, mad because he wasn’t scoring well, or just didn’t seem to care that much if his man scored or not.
He was poor at contesting shots, poor at denying his man the basketball, and poor at doing the things you have to do to be a winning defensive player. His hands and arms were inactive, something that should be a cardinal sin for a player of his skill level. People shot over him with ease, and that shouldn’t have been the case. But as aggravating as that was, it was his body language on the floor that was worse….basically he wasn’t a guy his teammates and coaches could rely on to help them if they needed it, and worse than that it didn’t seem to ever improve as the season went along.
Basically, from a defensive point of view, I just didn’t think Hamilton seemed to “get it”. A little bit of the alpha dog mentality on offense is good, but he had it defensively too…..seemingly he cared alot more about HIS man scoring than he did if his TEAM gave up points. This type of mentality is why he seemed to be getting an earful from his point guard alot….a player I will have some stuff to say about before draft night is complete.
In summary, I think in Hamilton we have a powerfully built, athletic, strong wing man who can really shoot the basketball. He cuts well and plays without the basketball as an inside cutter very nicely. He can score in a variety of ways, but he won’t get to the line for you or take anyone off the dribble…basically a spot up guy or a guy you can run off screens, and you can post him up some. He will run the floor hard offensively and rebound well due to his size and aggression.
But we also have an immature, somewhat selfish player who doesn’t guard anyone and who takes really bad shots sometimes, especially if he hasn’t hoisted one up in a few possessions. Obviously Hamilton is young and has talent, but how well he takes instruction and how much he understands and improves upon his weaknesses will determine his future NBA success…..I think Hamilton could go either way, and either eventually be a nice wing rotation player (maybe even a starter, he has good enough skills/talent/potential to start for alot of teams), or be a guy who lets the cash go to his head and doesn’t work hard, and ends up bouncing around the league from team to team.
Like many players at this point, I am having a somewhat difficult time figuring out where to put Hamilton.* It isn’t like Hamilton isn’t talented, because he is….I just didn’t like watching him play personally, and he isn’t my kind of guy. But with his skill level and NBA body, he will still be drafted fairly high I would think.
To me, he’d be a great fit for the Charlotte Bobcats at #9 (or maybe #19), and that is who I think will take him. Paul Silas would be a good mentor for him, as would Michael Jordan. They need a perimeter shooting wing badly in Charlotte, and despite his considerable faults I still like him better than the other choice for a perimeter shooting wing, Klay Thompson. Other teams I could see choosing him would be the Warriors at #11, Houston at #14 or #23, and *Philadelphia at #16, as he’d be a nice fit next to Evan Turner if indeed he reaches his full potential.
I wouldn’t obviously, but I can see arguments both ways. We definitely do need an athletic wing off our bench, and Hamilton can really shoot the basketball from the perimeter, which is a trait Larry Bird really values. Hamilton’s aggressive scoring mentality might really boost our somewhat points challenged second unit. His rebounding strength from the wing position long term is valuable on a team with poorer rebounders than average at the “4″ and “5″, which we have.
Still, ultimately I see us passing, if indeed Hamilton is there. I think the lack of defense, immaturity, and overall poor fit compared to what we already have in place will lead Larry Bird to go in another direction than the Texas sharpshooter on draft night.
NBA past comparable: destitute, living under a bridge version of Eddie Johnson….a comparable I hate to make because I really liked Eddie Johnson, and don’t particularly like Hamilton. Can anyone do any better?
Hamilton doesn't appeal to me, especially for our team.
Because we already have Danny and Paul?
I dont think you can ever have enough good, athletic scorers. I really like Hamilton but I honestly dont see him falling to us. If he does, there are some really dumb GM's. He actually plays well off the ball AND can score in several ways.