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2011 NBA Draft Prospect Analysis: Jordan Hamilton

With the NBA draft about one week away, I remain enthused about the Bobcats' many possible options. My prospect analysis of possible Bobcats selections continues today with small forward Jordan Hamilton, a 20 year-old sophomore out of the University of Texas.

Few prospects in this draft have as unsure a draft position as Jordan Hamilton currently does. Draft Express predicts that he'll be drafted 19th, but other sites have rumored him as a possible selection as early as 9th (Oddly enough, both picks belong to the Bobcats). Depending on how his stock rises and falls before the draft, the Bobcats could possibly have two chances to select Hamilton in the first round. 

Though Hamilton has the capability to play shooting guard, his lack of speedy lateral movement defensively may force him to primarily play small forward in the NBA. Hamilton has frequently drawn comparisons to Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks, and many facets of their talents certainly seem similar. Both players use size to their advantage offensively, can function as scorers, and are strong rebounders at their respective positions. However, unlike Joe Johnson, Hamilton has not yet displayed himself as a strong passer. Another NBA comparison often made regarding Hamilton is the Bobcats' own Stephen Jackson, which seems equally apt. If Hamilton's game translated to the NBA to the extent of either of these players, the Bobcats or any other team would be content with their selection. 

The Bobcats have a glaring need for scoring from the wing position, as well as scoring and rebounding from a power forward or center. Some have speculated that they could take a scoring guard like Klay Thompson or Alec Burks, an athletic stalwart like Chris Singleton, or even the athletic defending and rebounding prospect Bismack Biyombo. While these prospects have their particular strengths, Hamilton's combination of talents (with an emphasis on scoring and rebounding) may be more immediately helpful to the Bobcats' offense. 

Hamilton, a 6'8", 230 pound small forward out of the University of Texas, is best known for his ability to score (18.6 PPG during his recent sophomore season). He's a good shooter from the perimeter, something the Bobcats desperately lack. What often goes unnoticed by many when analyzing Hamilton is his keen sense of rebounding (8.7 rebounds per 36 minutes at Texas). If Hamilton can translate the offensive energy and skill set he showed while at Texas to the NBA, he could help solve a number of deficiencies in the Bobcats offense.

Of course, Hamilton's game is not without its own problems. His footwork and poise are often suspect on defense (though his size could possibly enable him to cover multiple positions), and he often has questionable shot selection (despite improvements in that facet over the last year). However, with a decreased offensive focus initially and further development, these problems could most likely be alleviated to some degree. Given that Hamilton would most likely be allowed to play decent minutes somewhat promptly with the Bobcats, his perimeter and rebounding strengths would be able to flourish. Because he provides two important abilities that the Bobcats often desperately need, Hamilton should be in heavy consideration for the Bobcats with their 9th pick (and, if possible, their 19th pick).