Tag:Jordan Hamilton
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:46 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 6:52 am
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The Nuggets, free of Melo, control their destiny

By Matt Moore

When trading a superstar, you look at two options. You can try and aim for a similar, albeit lesser star, or you can aim for financial flexibility and young players. When the Denver Nuggets traded Camelo Anthony last February, they received young players and financial flexibility, but they also recieved something better. Choice. 

The team was not so devastated by Anthony's deparure as to be forced into a pure rebuilding episode. They had young players like Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson, and got back more in the form of Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov. But they also had cap room to bring in someone, or, if they wanted to bring back Nene. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that's just what they did, inking the 29-year-old to a 5-year, $67 million deal which puts him at less per year than Marc Gasol, and which is less than the reported four-year, $70 million offer from the Nets. In locking up Nene, the Nuggets are entering into exciting but dangerous territory.

The Nuggets can compete for the playoffs right now. If Lawson continues his progression and Gallinari becomes a full-fledged star and young players like Jordan Hamilton and Kenneth Faried contribute anything, along with Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer, who the Nuggets acquired Tuesday in a trade with Dallas, then Nene allows them to push for as high as a five-seed in the West. With the Lakers undergoing signs of a possible implosion and Dallas clearing space for 2012, along with San Antonio's age finally wreaking havoc on them, the Thunder really only stand as a major long-term challenge in the West, provided the Clippers don't get Chris Paul. A deep, talented, versatile team with depth, size, experience, youth, athleticism and range? The Nuggets have everything you'd want in an all-around collection of talent.

The Nuggets are expected to zero in on restricted free agent Arron Afflalo, according to Berger, and as a result, will have a killer lineup of Lawson-Afflalo-Gallinari with some combination of frontcourt players beside Nene filling out the roster. They'll still have long-term flexibility, with only Al Harrington standing as a major impediment and will still have the amnesty clause as a weapon to use to clear space. Most of that cap space will be absorbed by extensions for Lawson, Gallinari, and potentially Mozgov, but that doesn't alter the fact that they can use those contracts and players to upgrade or go in different directions.

Still, the re-signing of Nene has its drawbacks. They are a win-now team. They are not aiming for the next superstar, they're trying to grow one out of either Lawson, Gallinari, or, less likely, Nene. They're trying to catch lightning in a bottle and that's a difficult act in the NBA. It's said that the worst thing you can do is end up in NBA purgatory, a constant 5-8 seed playoff team who never winds up going anywwhere. But the Nuggets might get to have their cake and eat it, too. With the kind of young roster they have, and a viable anchor in Nene to bolster the interior, Denver can have it both ways.

Masai Ujiri caught flak from everyone for waiting on the Melo deal last fall, seemingly squandering opportunities to get better deals. Instead, not only did he take in a king's ransom for Anthony, he has converted that haul and the cap space it afforded into a team that isn't struggling to fill roster spots, one that can take risks and make savvy moves, a team on the rise that can also compete now. There's no telling where Ujiri will take the Nuggets over the next several years, but unlike so many franchises beholden to the fate of one player, the Nuggets have options, now.

Wherever they're going, it's their decision which path to take.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:08 am
 

NBA Draft: Five biggest surprises

Posted by Royce Young



The build-up to this year's draft had a pretty wild feel to it. With the chance of a lockout ahead, teams appeared to be frantically positioning for a crazy night of trading and movement. A lot went according to plan. Kyrie Irving went No. 1 overall to Cleveland. Derrick Williams was taken right after by Minnesota. Enes Kanter went to Utah third.

There were some surprises though. Some players that dropped a bit farther than expected or climbed up the ladder to get taken four or five spots ahead of expectation. For instance, Josh Selby fell all the way down to 49 to Memphis, which is pretty remarkable. But the 49th overall pick is pretty unremarkable. So here are my biggest five draft night surprises:

1. Tristan Thompson, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (4): Some prognosticators saw the Cavs going either with Jonas Valanciunas or Thompson here, especially with Kanter coming off the board to Utah at No. 3. But Thompson was mostly slated on big boards somewhere in the 7-10 region. The Cavs didn't necessarily reach on him, as they need more front court depth, but Thompson might've been available a couple slots lower as well.

I imagine the Cavs wanted Kanter and took their second choice with Thompson, but passing over Valanciunas is a bit surprising. The buyout issue for Valanciunas probably had a lot to do with it.

2. Iman Shumpert, PG, New York Knicks (17): The Knicks were hoping homegrown point guard Kemba Walker would somehow free fall to them at 17, but instead, New York picked up Shumpert, a junior guard out of Georgia Tech. The Knicks contingent in the building promptly said, "Who?" and commenced booing.

It's not a bad pick by any means, as the Knicks need a player to groom behind Chauncey Billups, plus, he does offer a little size and athleticism. Shumpert is 6-6 and already a terrific defender, something the Knicks need more than a good scorer. But 17 is a bit high for Shumpert since most saw him as a late first-round guy. Chris Singleton, Kenneth Faried and Marshon Brooks were still on the board at 17,  so some are curious why New York passed them over for Shumpert.

3. Markieff Morris, F, Phoenix Suns (13): Sort of a minor surprise here, but most figured younger brother Marcus was the higher ranked prospect of the two. Naturally, I had to wonder if maybe Lon Babby and the Suns just mixed the two up here. (Twin joke!) It is relatively interesting that Markieff, born seven minutes ahead of Marcus, was picked one spot ahead, almost exactly seven minutes earlier. Some things are just meant to be.

4. Jordan Hamilton, SF, Denver Nuggets (26): Hamilton was taken by the Mavericks and, after mass confusion, ended up being part of a three-way trade that sent him to Denver. But most had the Texas swingman pegged in the 15-20 range. And when he dropped past Houston at 23, it looked like almost a certainty that Oklahoma City would snatch him up at 24.

Yet, he was passed over. There was word that Texas coach Rick Barnes warned teams that Hamilton is uncoachable and that's the reason he slipped. A couple weeks ago he was a borderline lottery pick, but on draft night he barely survived the first round.

5. Corey Joseph, PG, San Antonio Spurs (29): Once the Spurs pushed the button on a trade to send George Hill to Indiana for Kawhi Leonard, you knew San Antonio was going to look to restock its depth. Just not many saw them targeting Joseph.

Joseph played one year at Texas and was a nice, highly-recruited defender, but didn't really impress many. He was pegged as a middle second round guy, so when David Stern called his name with the 29th pick, some were a bit shocked. He has the same frame as George Hill and might be able to settle into that exact some role. Plus, with the Spurs, everything they do seems brilliant. They're sort of like a new Radiohead album in that way. They escape the critics even when something doesn't quite add up because they've earned it with a glowing reputation.
Posted on: June 18, 2011 2:22 am
Edited on: June 18, 2011 10:00 pm
 

2011 NBA Draft: 5 sleepers

A look at five potential sleepers in the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver. jeremy-tyler

Ask any NBA GM and they will tell you that draftology is an "inexact science." Put more simply: "Hey, we mess up a lot." We've all seen enough draft failures over the years to have developed a spider sense for how guys slip through the cracks.

Some of the most common reasons: a player takes a nontraditional route to the league, a player stays in college too long and scouts nitpick him to death, a player appears not to have a clear position, a player excels at a small school but scouts doubt that his skills will translate, or a late-blooming international player doesn't appear on the radar until too soon before draft night.   

As has been written about extensively virtually everywhere, this year's draft class is not a traditional class. The top end talent is very thin, the international contingent is fairly deep but filled with questions, there's not a quality American-born center projected to go in the first round and there are really only three point guards expected to turn into potential franchise-type players.

Even with the impact positions so weak and the star caliber talent so thin, there are some quality players that will likely be selected later -- perhaps much later -- than they should be.

Here's a look at five names, all of whom fit into one of the common categories of how guys that get overlooked that were mentioned above. The players listed below might not be falling like rocks past where they should be picked, but each deserves better than what he's seeing on mock drafts in the week leading up to Thursday's draft.

1. Jeremy Tyler

How often can we legitimately call one of the nation's top five prospects coming out of high school a sleeper? Not very often, but Tyler (pictured) is obviously not your typical top prospect. He redefined what "nontraditional route to the NBA" means when he left high school early to pursue a professional career in Israel and Japan. There's no question that his decision -- and the negative headlines that emerged during his professional career -- killed his draft stock in a major way. 

Watching Tyler play in a pre-draft workout, as I did this week, one can only leave with the conclusion that he is a top-15 caliber player, if not better. He's very big, very strong, and blessed with good coordination and a solid feel around the basket. His reputation has him going late in the first round in most mock drafts and it's certainly possible that he could slip to the second round on draft night.

More than one evaluator called Tyler a "tempting" risk this week. Someone needs to go ahead and take the plunge. 

2. Andrew Goudelock

Goudelock is almost the prototypical small-school diamond in the rough. College of Charleston isn't exactly Kentucky or North Carolina, but scoring is scoring and Goudelock has shown the ability to fill it up. He averaged more than 23 points a game this season and drew nice reviews for his ability to shoot the rock at the Portsmouth Invitational. He's projected as a second round pick and gets knocked for his tweener size because he's listed at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds while doing more scoring (18.9 shots per game) than passing (4.2 assists) at the collegiate level. 

Remember: scoring off the bench is one of those must-have roles for contenders, and perfect positional size and fit simply aren't all that important in this niche. Ask J.J. Barea. Ask the Chicago Bulls, who would have sacrificed Carlos Boozer for anyone at any height and weight who could have scored consistently off their bench against the Miami Heat.

There are other players in this draft that fit this bill -- Josh Selby comes to mind -- but Goudelock is likely to dive fairly deep because of his lack of name recognition. Whoever plucks him out of the second round stands to be rewarded nicely.

3. Kyle Singler

You don't need a crystal ball to see Kyle Singler's future. He will be a solid rotation player on a perennial playoff contender, stepping in off the bench to play either forward position. He will make smart plays, go hard on both ends of the court, constantly have television announcers say he's playing over his head, and will knock down the open shot.

One of the best competitors in this draft, Singler gets overlooked this year for two obvious reasons: he stayed at Duke for longer than he probably should have and isn't an elite athlete. Earlier in his career, Singler had lottery buzz; he now expects to go in the mid-to-late first round and, if things don't break right, he could even find himself landing in the early second. There are certain to be multiple flameouts selected before him.

In a draft with a shallow star pool, why not take a solid, low-risk player who is wholly devoted to playing the game the right way? 

4. Jordan Hamilton

Hamilton's path to the NBA wasn't as rocky as Tyler's, but it wasn't pretty either.

He was forced to sit out his senior year of high school because of eligibility issues after working to get ranked in the top 10 nationally. He then spent two years at Texas, averaging 18.6 points in his sophomore year after not making the impact that was expected in his first season. A classic wing scorer with good size, Hamilton showed he could carry the load on offense at the college level and should be able to be a nice complementary scorer in the pro game.

Aside from his red-flag route to the NBA, Hamilton also has a ways to go on defense. Nevertheless, this was a highly-touted scorer who was able to find his groove despite a layoff from basketball and and adjustment period on a deep college team. Projecting five years down the road, it's difficult to imagine Hamilton inot filling it up for someone and creating highlights along the way.  His stock has bounced around the second half of the draft a bit. On talent, he should be go in the mid-first, if not earlier. If he slips much past that, he's a full blown sleeper by this year's definition. 

5. Bismack Biyombo 


Sure, we don't often consider projected lottery picks to be sleepers. Biyombo is exceptional in so many other ways, though, that we should make another exception here.

If Biyombo had a longer resume or had handled his pre-draft run-up better, he is a player who should be talked about as a top five selection. Biyombo is arguably the best defensive prospect in the draft. His combination of absurd length, ability to contest shots intelligently, his ability to play one-on-one in the post and roam as an active help side defender, and his ferocious desire for cleaning the glass make him elite on that end of the floor. With that package, who cares about his out of nowhere backstory (raised in the Democratic Republic of Congo, limited professional career in Spain).

Unfortunately, he's now working to prevent a draft day slide after tanking a workout in Europe and laying low for almost the entire pre-draft process. Biyombo is now projected outside of the top 10 and potentially outside of the lottery, which would be borderline criminal given his upside and physical tools.

There's no question that it will take guts to draft him given the red flags about his age (he could be much older than he says he is) and his meteoric rise to the first round following the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit. But this is a player about whom people will almost certainly look back in five years and say, "how in the heck did they pass on that guy in that draft?"

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com