C – 7’0, 230lbs – Born 3rd February 1994
Hamilton joined the Drive after summer league and training camp stints with the parent Detroit Pistons, who recognised the potential in the late-blooming big man. With a very solid first professional season behind him, their opinion looks vindicated.
The former Virginia Tech Hokie transferred to Texas-Arlington for his senior season, whereupon he put in big numbers to establish his professional credentials. A very smooth athlete for his size, Hamilton uses his length and mobility to crash the glass on both ends, be a rim protector and cut to the basket a lot. Lacking any form of jump shot – although a reasonable free-throw stroke suggests a line jumper may be possible down the road – and in not running the court as well as you would imagine he could do, Hamilton nevertheless is a presence offensively through his offensive rebounding, through being a lob threat, through having the sufficient handle to be a dribble-handoff player who can also go to the rim if forgotten about, and in outrunning the opposition when he tries to.
On the defensive end, Hamilton’s shot blocking prowess is a big virtue on the interior, although he does tend to play defence with his hands rather than his feet, allowing drivers to get past him in the first place. The fact that he is able to recover so readily with his length, though, means they will sometimes do so at their peril. The rebounding rate again comes through here; although he is more mobile than the ‘traditional’ big mould would normally entail, Hamilton’s game otherwise fits it nicely – screens, boards, cuts, paint defence, fouls when necessary.
Hamilton is older than ideal for a prospect, and has a skill set that rather runs against the way the NBA is headed. That said, the NBA will never move away from the importance of interior defence and rebounding.
– 20th June, 2019
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