Last years Denver Nuggets team was quite a transformation from a year earlier. With the trade of Carmelo Anthony and the NBA lockout, gone were the names of Billups, Martin, and Smith. In were names like Gallinari, Mozgov, and Chandler. The 2011-2012 Denver Nuggets also ended up with two first round draft picks, Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton.
Faried was Denver’s first rounder as the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft. Jordan Hamilton followed, drafted 26th by the Dallas Mavericks, then traded in the same deal that included bringing Andre Miller back to the Nuggets. Hamilton was a stand out as a sophomore at Texas in 2010-2011. Starting at small forward, Hamilton was easily the Longhorns leading scorer that season with a little over 18 points per game.
Now George Karl has a reputation for not playing rookies unless they are from North Carolina. With that said, Kenneth Faried did end up getting a lot of playing time due to injuries on the team. The other first round draft pick, Jordan Hamilton, did not. He did see limited time and from an offensive stand point, and looked pretty good at times. But the effort was not enough for Hamiton to crack the rotation.
Jordan Hamilton will crack the rotation and here’s why.
First, the Denver Nuggets have missed instant offense off the bench since the departure of J.R. Smith. Hamilton has the potential to provide that type energy off the bench. He is very capable of knocking down 5 or 6 quick buckets in a row which is something that J.R. was really good at. Hamilton is also a good three-point shooter, something the Nuggets have lacked since losing Smith, Anthony, and Billups.
Secondly, the Nuggets list Hamilton as a guard instead of small forward. George Karl has shown that he likes to run the two guard rotation a lot. This makes Hamilton a perfect wing to play along with Ty Lawson or Andre Miller. Furthermore, the Nuggets coaches were defiantly trying to get Ty and Andre to take more shots last year, something Hamilton isn’t afraid to do. This would enable Lawson and Miller both to focus on what they are good at, which is getting others involved and getting into the paint.
Finally, Hamilton showed in summer camp that he is willing to work hard at other parts of his game. Rebounding and defense are always big with George Karl. Therefore, if Jordan can impress the Nuggets coaching staff in those areas, Karl may just loosen the reigns a little.
With the Nuggets depth, it is a tall order for a player like Jordan Hamilton to crack the rotation this year. But I believe his skill set is a major piece the Nuggets were lacking last year. It is also not that unlikely that the Nuggets make another change before the beginning of the NBA preseason. They just have too many guys on the team that could be starters on other teams in the NBA. Therefore, Jordan Hamilton’s chances are really good that he’ll be in the rotation this year.
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