The roster certainly didn’t get any better this year and Hamilton hasn’t really gotten any worse which makes his minor plummet in the rankings somewhat curious on the surface. But for better or for worse, last year’s team was about maximizing the win potential of the roster, and that approach did not include slogging through the developmental growing-pains of projects on the end of the bench.
Hamilton’s central issue, in terms of his inability to get off the bench for anything but garbage time, last season was his sieve-like defense. JHam suffers from the many vices that usually plague young players on that end: he over-helps, he ball watches, he goes for inadvisable steals, and he gets caught up in screens far too easily. His length on the wing makes him an ideal candidate to snip passing lanes and help blanket double-teams but his decision making and timing with implementing these skills often hurt the team much more than they help.
Offensively is where you can see the potential. Hamilton’s a 6-7 wing with a good shooting stroke and a handle that teams need to be wary of. But that sweet stroke has yet to manifest itself into something teams really have to worry about as in spot-up situations, where floor spacers usually do their most work, he remains just average per SynergySports. Additionally, while he has the capability to put the ball on the floor and beat an overmatched defender off the dribble, he struggles mightily around the basket when he drives and has an unfortunate tendency to favor off balance jumpers as opposed to finishes at the rim.
“Project” is a rather ubiquitous player label mostly used as an absolution for a player’s prolonged developmental stage. It implies that something is being built toward and that something positive will be birthed from all the hard work. JHam is entering his third year in the league and perhaps will be getting his first real shot at significant playing time. He has the raw materials to become a solid contributor on the team and has already shown signs of those skills being implemented, with his superior rebounding and improved ball handling.
Denver will have a decision to make next season regarding picking up Hamilton’s option, a decision that will be made all the harder with the nearly $1 million raise he is set to make. This season will be an audition for Jordan Hamilton, a time for him to show what this project has built.
15. Anthony Randolph
14. Quincy Miller
13. Timofey Mozgov
12. Jordan Hamilton