Draft-night trade sends Hamilton to Denver

Nick Cremona

For a moment, it looked as if Jordan Hamilton would become part of the world-champion Dallas Mavericks, but after a draft-night trade, the 6’7” small forward will call Denver home next season.

Selected with the 26th overall pick by the Mavericks, Hamilton was dealt to the Nuggets in a three-team trade that also sent Rudy Fernandez of the Portland Trail Blazers to Dallas. The Trail Blazers also shipped veteran guard Andre Miller to the Nuggets in exchange for point guard Raymond Felton.

After a disappointing freshman season, Hamilton changed his number and his game in the offseason to prove he was a better, more mature player.

“I will always respect Jordan for the way he honestly sat down and evaluated himself following his freshman season here,” said Texas head coach Rick Barnes.

If Hamilton’s offseason self-evaluation was a standardized test, he would have been commended for his efforts. He improved his scoring average from 10 to nearly 19 points a game from his freshman to sophomore season, as well as grabbing four more rebounds per contest.

“He realized there was a lot that he needed to learn. Jordan worked so hard at the game, but more importantly, he grew as a person,” Barnes said.

Hamilton will once again have to mature quickly and continue to tweak his game in order to be successful at the next level.

His new teammates in Denver are a young bunch and are on an upward swing in the Western Conference.

Hamilton will most likely begin the season on the bench behind Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler; two players who, as of now, bring a more complete game to the court. As is common over the course of an NBA season, things can change quickly. Hamilton could become a much-needed shooting spark off the bench for the Nuggets.

“We feel like we got a couple of young players that could be good help,” said Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri. “Jordan Hamilton is a big, big wing. He’s a good scorer, a really good shooter, and I think his game will develop.