Mere hours after the Bobcats cut ties to controversial veteran guard Ben Gordon, Rich Cho and company signed D-League All-Star Justin Hamilton to a 10-day contract. While Al Jefferson has undoubtedly been Charlotte’s shining star during their potential playoff run, the team has lacked a consistent backup center with the continued up-and-down play of Bismack Biyombo.
While Hamilton is a relative unknown in NBA circles, he’s made his impact in the NBADL as one of the best offensive big men in the entire league. As I mentioned in a recent piece on Ridiculous Upside, Hamilton made his impact by his ability to help his teammates in the PnR. By being aligned next to current Heat guard DeAndre Liggins and former UCLA star Larry Drew, Hamilton was able to be the perfect pick and roll big because of his wide arsenal of offensive skills.
Even though Hamilton has been more efficient with his work in the low-post, he quickly implemented himself as one of the lone D-League bigs who could effectively shoot from the perimeter. Despite the fact that it’s been shown in small doses, the 7-foot center shot an efficient 38.5% from beyond the arc. With his perimeter skills in mind, Hamilton is extremely quick for a 7-foot, 260 pound center which has allowed him to be a solid cutter.
While his low-post skills will probably never be compared to the likes of Al Jefferson, Hamilton has still been able to showcase his abilities from inside the paint. By utilizing his solid 7-foot, 260 pound frame, Hamilton is able to extremely effective because of his ability to utilize his quick footwork in the low-post. While he has a less than stellar 7’1 wingspan, Hamilton is use that footwork to break away from the opposition to launch a pretty solid right handed hook shot.
Besides his arsenal of offensive weapons, Hamilton was also one of the best offensive rebounders in the D-League as he averaged 3.5 offensive boards per game.
Defensively, Hamilton isn’t the most spectacular or stellar athlete but he’s still able to be solid. One of his main defensive assets rests on his ability to be a 7-foot defensive stopper without drawing fouls. By averaging 2.1 fouls per game, Hamilton’s numbers are extremely low compared to the grand majority of front-courts players in the NBA or D-League.
With that in mind, the 7-foot center had one of the best defensive ratings (98.5 defRTG) and blocks per game (2.0 BPG) numbers in the NBADL.
Even though Hamilton is currently signed to a 10-day deal, he’s definitely talented enough to be an NBA role player. Because of his all-around offensive game and solid work on defense, he defined himself as one of the best overall front-court players who didn’t have an NBA contract.
Will there be a chance that Clifford buries Hamilton on the Bobcats bench until his 10-day contract runs out? Absolutely, that’s happened to a lot of skilled D-Leaguers in the past. But with that in mind, Hamilton could definitely be a solid backup center behind Al Jefferson. As previously mentioned, Hamilton’s solid work in the PnR could fit in extremely nicely with Kemba Walker. Also, he’s a solid help defender which would make Hamilton an instant fit in Steve Clifford’s defensive scheme.