PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – For the second time in two years, a member of the Hamilton family took the court at the Clippers’ practice facility.
If Daniel Hamilton’s face looked familiar Wednesday alongside fellow workout participants DeAndre Bembry, Guerschon Yabusele, Cat Barber, Tyrone Wallace and Zach Auguste, that’s because he’s one of the younger brothers of former Clippers forward Jordan Hamilton, who played 14 games for the Clippers during the 2014-15 season.
As Daniel goes through the draft process, he’s absorbing advice from his older brother, who’s been through it all before.
“He tells me, ‘You’ve just got to be in condition,’” Daniel said. “You’re going to have a back to back-to-back sometimes, so you’ve just got to be in condition and be in the best shape of your life, really.”
Daniel has workouts with around 14 teams scheduled, and that’s not even the most of the six players who worked out Wednesday.
Auguste said he’s trying to sleep and use every facility’s recovery room to his advantage to ice, heat and rest between the 19 workouts he has scheduled. Wednesday’s session already put him in double digits.
The way Auguste looks at it, the more opportunities he has to showcase what he can do in person, the better chances he has at getting selected later this month. That’s the mindset for many of the NBA prospects on the fringe of getting drafted.
For those players in particular, this time of year means picking up and traveling from city to city day after day – so much so that Auguste even had trouble remembering where he just came from before arrriving in Los Angeles.
“The time zones are crazy,” Auguste said. “You forget the days, for sure. It’s just another day of the week.”
But, those days come and go quickly as the June 23 draft approaches. And as that deadline nears, the time for players to convince teams they’re worthy of a selection also dwindles.
While some criticized Daniel’s decision to stay in the draft and not return to school, he’s not concerned about that. He feels he’s ready to play professionally, and he now has three more weeks to make 30 potential employers feel the same way.
This is the hometown stretch of Daniel’s workouts, as the Los Angeles native worked out for the Lakers on Tuesday before seeing the Clippers a day later.
He continues to check in with Jordan, who was drafted in the late first round in 2011, to see what tips his older brother has to offer.For years, Jordan’s been an important resource for both Daniel, who was a forward at Connecticut, and Isaac, who’s in the midst of a successful career at UCLA.
But, Daniel knows he has to make his own way as the youngest of five Hamilton brothers.
“With me being the youngest, I always got it pretty tough,” Daniel said. “People always criticize me, telling me to make my own name for myself. That’s what I’m trying to do here and what I’m trying to do at the next level.”
While Daniel isn’t projected by many to be a first-round pick, Wednesday’s workout did feature a handful of players projected to fall in the range of the Clippers’ late-first and early-second round selections, including Bembry and Yabusele.
Here’s a look at the players at this week’s workout.
DeAndre Bembry | Player Profile »
The St. Joseph’s junior forward might end up the highest drafted player of the Clippers’ workouts in recent weeks, though he said he’s heard a range of possibilities and is trying to tune the projections out.
“I feel like I’m definitely a first-round talent, but you never know,” Bembry said. “I feel like I’ll be good wherever I end up.”
Bembry ran one of the fastest three-quarter sprints at the NBA Combine, where he was a full participant and stood out immediately with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists in his first scrimmage.
The potential first-round pick averaged more than 17 points and 7.5 rebounds per game each of his past two seasons. He averaged 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists this past season, though he saw his 3-point percentage dip below 30 percent last season.
Where he feels he’ll help a team most is with his versatility. Instead of coming in as just a shooter or just a slasher or just a defender, Bembry feels he brings a bit of everything, including leadership.
“Whatever the coach needs me to do, I’m one of those players that will do it and won’t have a problem doing it,” Bembry said.
Guerschon Yabusele | Player Profile »
The 6-8 forward from France could also end up a late first or early second-round pick, and his size has plenty to do with it.
At 260 pounds and with a wingspan breaking seven feet, Yabusele physically has the body to intrigue plenty of teams. The forward could continue growing at just 20 years old and recently averaged double-digits in scoring playing for Rouen in France’s Pro A league.
Daniel Hamilton | Player Profile »
A wing with size, Hamilton only played two seasons at Connecticut before declaring for the draft, scoring in double digits both of those seasons and averaging 12.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists this past season.
Hamilton burst onto the season as the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman, then became just one of two Division-I players in the country along with likely lottery pick Ben Simmons to post at least 450 points, 300 rebounds and 150 assists.
He contributed across the board in college, but he’s no guarantee to get drafted. The Los Angeles native called it a blessing to be working out for his hometown teams, going to the Lakers on Tuesday and the Clippers on Wednesday.
“It’s pretty amazing for me to come in here, being able to work out with guys I looked up to,” Hamilton said.
Anthony “Cat” Barber | Player Profile »
Barber declared for the draft after a breakout junior campaign, which saw him average 23.5 points, 4.6 rebound and 4.5 assists per game at N.C. State.
The point guard led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring and was a first-team All-ACC selection, shooting better than 36 percent from 3-point range each of his final two seasons. Most projections have the 21-year-old fitting somewhere in the second round.
The Clippers’ workout was Barber’s 10th thus far, and he has four or five more coming.
“My agent looks at fits, teams that are picking in my range,” Barber said. “You try to pick teams out and make sure it’s the right team.”
Tyrone Wallace | Player Profile »
Another player fighting to show a team he’s worthy of a selection, at 6-5 and more than 200 pounds Wallace has plenty of size for a player capable of running the point.
Wallace played all four years at the University of California, averaging double digits in scoring each of his final three seasons, including 17.1 points per game his junior year. He also averaged more than five rebounds per game each of his final two seasons and a career-high 4.4 assists per game his senior year.
With his size, he’s capable of playing the one or the two, though he said he’s more comfortable at point guard. After hovering around the 30 percent mark from 3-point range throughout his career, Wallace knows teams are looking most for consistency with his jump shot, and he’s trying to show teams he can demonstrate the ability to develop that part of his game.
“I’m heading downhill toward the end of my workouts, so it’s become a little surreal,” Wallace said. “The draft is in less than a month, so just trying to make the most of every opportunity while I’m on the workouts on the court and let the rest take care of itself.”
Zach Auguste (Notre Dame) | Player Profile »
Like Wallace and Hamilton, Auguste is no guarantee to get selected, so he’s working out with more than half the NBA teams to show he belongs.
The 6-10 Notre Dame forward finished up his most productive season at school, averaging a double-double as a senior with 14 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. While Barber led the ACC in scoring, Auguste led the conference in rebounding last year.
He followed his productive year by posting double-doubles in his first three NCAA victories of the tournament before dealing with foul trouble in the Elite 8 loss to North Carolina.
“It definitely can help boost confidence, going against a great group of players, guys that are projected to be high,” Auguste said. “If you’re able to go out there and play a great game and do great things, it’ll open some eyes up and it allows the world to see that you can compete.”