Denver Nuggets player reviews: Jordan Hamilton

With the 2011-12 season in the books and 2012-13 approaching, Nuggets.com is taking a closer at the team’s primary rotation players and how they fared during a challenging 66-game schedule. Denver assistant coach Melvin Hunt was kind enough to provide candid assessments, which reflect the views of the Nuggets coaching staff as a whole.

Today’s featured player is Jordan Hamilton, a first-round draft pick who went through the usual highs and lows experienced by NBA rookies.

Hamilton, 21, played in 26 games, averaging 4.4 points and 2.3 points in 9.9 minutes. He also spent some time earlier in the season in the NBA Development League, where he averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds in six games with the Idaho Stampede.

With the Nuggets dealing with numerous injuries midway through the season, Hamilton received his first meaningful minutes in the NBA. He showed flashes of his potential by scoring in double figures three times in a six-game stretch.

Hamilton also proved to be a good fit for Denver’s system by knocking down three-pointers, rebounding and running the floor. He will be in line for an increased role in 2012-13 after a productive offseason.

At the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, he averaged 19.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in five games.

“I worked hard this summer to show the coaches that I’m ready to play a bigger role this year,” Hamilton said. “The opportunity is there as long as I keep working hard and competing every day in practice.”

Melvin Hunt’s 2011-12 Evaluation
“His work ethic from Day 1 evolved. You could see the lights go on a little bit more every day as the year went on. During the game, he would grab one of the assistant coaches on the way back to the bench and ask why certain players do certain things. He always had good questions. We all believed he would be ready to make a shot for us. We knew he wouldn’t be afraid of the moment.”

Summer Improvements
“We just need to tighten up his game. We want to make sure he has a plan. He’s going to be able to score in the half court offense, and we spent a lot of time figuring out how to score in close spaces. This summer, we told him to concentrate on defense when he’s playing pick-up games. You’ll make some mistakes, but you’ll be better. We also need him to keep rebounding. He’s not afraid of getting in the fray and mixing it up with guys. That’s another part of his game that we’ll benefit from.”

One word that describes Hamilton

Game to Remember
Playing in his hometown of Los Angeles, Hamilton was called upon as the Nuggets faced the Clippers without injured rotation players Rudy Fernandez, Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson. Hamilton responded with 18 points (6-11 FG, 4-5 3FG) and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.

Stat That Bears Re-Tweeting
21.4 – Hamilton’s points per 48 minutes, which ranked eighth among Nuggets who played at least 20 games last season.