By Brian Kotloff, NBADLeague.com
SANTA CRUZ, CALIF. — Jordan Hamilton didn’t know what he was getting into. It was his first practice with the Reno Bighorns, the team that traded for him in December, and for one of the first times, a coach criticized him for passing up a shot and making an extra pass.
“We don’t pass up open threes,” the forward remembers Bighorns’ 28-year-old head coach David Arseneault Jr. telling him.
“I couldn’t disagree with that,” Hamilton said, “because I’m a guy who obviously likes to shoot the basketball.”
It would have been music to the 20-year-old Hamilton’s ears, the kid who entered the NBA as a first-round pick and a former high school sensation who’d never been anything but the go-to scorer on his teams.
But now he’s a 24-year-old who’s been traded twice and waived twice — the type of experience that forces a player to look in to mirror and re-evaluate.
“The D-League is great,” Hamilton said at the NBA D-League Showcase, “but it’s also a humbling experience.”
And after landing on a team that scores 141 points per game, he’s out to prove that he can do more than just score. That’s why, on a night when he poured in 40 points on 15-for-22 shooting, he was happier with the energy he brought and the defense he played.
“Teams know I can score,” Hamilton said postgame. “So I just try to show all the little things — the intangibles, hustle plays.”