With the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Durant dominating the NBA from the wing, teams are continually looking to counter those stars with great wing players of their own.
Now, neither Chris Singleton nor Jordan Hamilton project to be anywhere near the caliber of James or Durant, but both are athletically gifted and likely to be good NBA players and that’s exactly what this draft class is all about – Potential!
So, who would you rather the defensive guru, Singlteon, or offensive aficionado, Hamilton?
Let’s take a look… shall we:
Chris Singleton, Florida State
What He Brings: Defense. Defense. Defense. In a NBA world with wings like the ones mentioned above, having a perimeter defender like Singleton can turn a team’s postseason fortune by shutting down these stars and throwing them off their game. But with Singleton’s size and athleticism, he can guard not only wing-oriented guards and forwards but also opposing team’s power forwards. That type of versatility cannot be overlooked. In a draft that is considered relatively weak, why not draft the one-sure thing: the best on-ball perimeter defender who can make an immediate impact?
So the guy has the athleticism and size to defend at the next level, but what about his offense? Well…it’s improved. It was pretty much non-existent his first couple years in Tallahassee, but he improved his PPG each of his three season at FSU and went from a 30% 3-PT shooter to 37%. That’s a big improvement but he still tends to be a little streaky. Developing a more consistent jumper would do wonders for his game. Nevertheless, he showed signs of improvement which has to be encouraging. But with Singleton’s size and leaping ability, he should be attacking the basket more and trying to pick-up more “garbage” points around the basket.
Some have questioned Singleton’s mentality and “fire” (I’m looking at you Chad Ford). I don’t buy it. You don’t jeopardize your basketball career by rushing your recovery from a broken foot to participate in the NCAA tournament without a little toughness and “fire.”
Possible Landing Spots: Washington Wizards (6th and 18th picks), Sacramento Kings (7th), Charlotte Bobcats (9th and 19th), Milwaukee Bucks (10th),Golden State Warriors (11th), Utah Jazz (12th), Houston Rockets (14th and 23rd), New York Knicks (17th)
Ideal fit: I honestly think Singleton is the safest pick in the draft. There are many gifted offensive players that end up playing in Europe or for perennial lottery teams. Defenders like Singleton are in such high demand and almost always find themselves playing in May and June. It’s not a coincidence.
That said, I think a blue-collar team like the Jazz would be a good fit. AK-47 likely is not going to becoming back to Utah, so replacing his versatility and defense with Singleton seems like a perfect fit. While Jerry Sloan might be gone, Kevin O’Conner will still love the versatility that Singleton can bring and would be a good complement to their already strong front court.
Jordan Hamilton, Texas
What He Brings: Simply put, Hamilton is a scoring machine. He doesn’t get this comparison enough but Hamilton is a Durant like matchup and could be a nightmare for any defender in the NBA, including Singleton. He’s got the size and rebounding ability to play the power-forward position yet he’s got the handle and range from deep to be a shooting guard in the league. Honestly it’s tough not to buy into the Texas product.
Now, Hamilton still lacks great quickness on the wing, which could see him struggle against the likes of Lebron, D-Wade and his Texas brethren, Durant, but perimeter defense is something that most players struggle with transitioning to the league. Singleton may be the lone player in this draft without that issue.
Meanwhile the other lingering qualm scouts have with Hamilton is that he was known to get a little selfish with the basketball in college. But, it is awfully difficult to dish the ball to teammates when you’ve only got one other big time scoring option (Tristian Thompson) on the floor with you. Now, Singleton is not nearly the caliber of offensive player as Hamilton, so the direct comparison would be just unfair.
A player more along his scoring abilities would instead be someone like Jimmer Fredette. Now, Jimmer jacked up way more shots than Hamilton, an average of nearly six-shots per game more (Jimmer 21 spg, Hamilton 15-spg) actually, during the 2010-2011 season, yet both players finished with very similar Field Goal (Jimmer .452, Hamilton .440) and 3-point (Jimmer .396, Hamilton .385) percentages.
The numbers simply don’t lie. Hamilton ended up leading his team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and finished just short of the team lead in rebounding (7.7 rpg), while Fredette propelled his team to national prominence with his one-dimensional talent. I’d say you give Hamilton another six-shots a night and he’d be right around Fredette’s 28 ppg average.
That being said, how can you even consider an offensive abomination like Singleton in the same category? He pales in comparison to Hamilton’s offensive skill set, it’s almost unfair to draw the comparison in that respect.
And to be fair, No, Hamilton will never be the premiere defender that Singleton can be in the NBA. He will never frustrate Wade and Durant or give Lebron night terrors in the same way that Singleton can and likely will. Though, with time and practice he will get better and may come close someday. But, Singleton will never be even two-thirds the offensive animal Hamilton has the potential to become.
(VIDEO – Hamilton in High School)
Possible Landing Spots: Toronto Raptors (5th Pick), Detroit Pistons (8th), Charlotte Bobcats (9th and 19th), Milwaukee Bucks (10th), Utah Jazz (12th), Houston Rockets (14th), Philadelphia 76ers (16th), Minnesota Timberwolves (20th)…
Ideal fit: Ideally, Hamilton will be given a year or two to learn from an experienced forward and play decent minutes for a contender before jumping into the starting lineup and being expected to make a difference. But, when your a lottery talent things don’t typically work out that way. So, with a talented young team in Philly and a suddenly expendable Andre Iguodala, Hamilton could benefit from the Sixers in one of two ways. Either, he will take over the starting role and have an immediate impact on the floor or he will have a solid year to learn behind Iguodala and hone his defensive skills. One way or another, Hamilton would benefit immensely and the Sixers would have a bigger, more offensively talented version of the Iggy monster.