Mar 09, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; LSU Tigers center Justin Hamilton (41) goes up for a basket against Kentucky Wildcats forward Terrence Jones (3) during the first half of the second round of the 2012 SEC Tournament at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE
Congratulations to LSU center Justin Hamilton on becoming the first Tiger to be drafted since 2009 entree Marcus Thornton. The 76ers selected Hamilton in the second round with the 45th overall pick. However, while being taken by the 76ers, his rights were traded to the NBA champions in Miami. Hamilton was drafted sixth of the nine centers that were taken overall in the draft. He was one of twelve total SEC players taken, as Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi State, and Vanderbilt also had players drafted. Kentucky lead the way with six players drafted, including the #1 and #2 overall picks, and while Florida's Bradley Beal went #3 overall.
It's certainly a big victory for Hamilton, because it didn't seem like he was talented enough to warrant a selection when he made his decision to leave school. Perhaps another big aid was the lack of international players drafted this year, which opened up spots that are normally taken for foreign project players.
The good news for Hamilton is that, while quite limited in his potential, he is already very efficient and stands a good chance at making the 76ers roster right away. A center with 6'11" size and a solid jumpshot isn't the easiest player to find and that could allow him to earn five to ten minutes off the bench during the season. A lot will depend on his defense and if he can stay in front of quicker players. Hamilton was never a threat in the open court like a lot of NBA forwards are, and he even had quick guards that could get out in transition at LSU. Hamilton will need to make adjustments on defense as well, because the block/charge circle is a foot bigger and he will need to thus react quicker on his help defense.
Hamilton should fit in quite well with Miami, because of the talent surrounding him. Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh are both solid NBA players that play similar styles to Hamilton. They both have similar shooting touches and can rebound their position well. It should be a good fit for Hamilton has he comes in with similar skills as the players he may be following off the bench, as well as that they should teach him the NBA since they know the situation he is in. Both players are 9 year veterans following the conclusion of this season.