Examining the first two games of Houston Rockets forward Jordan Hamilton

Hours before the trade deadline struck, I said that Daryl Morey needed to come out from that day with a viable backup swingman.  In watching Jordan Hamilton in his first two games as a Houston Rocket, it appears the Rockets’ GM was successful on that goal.  The biggest surprises thus far aren’t that Hamilton can play but 1) that he is playing and 2) that he is knocking down his 3′s.

I and a few others predicted that it would be some time before Hamilton got burn, with the thinking that Kevin McHale would not want to tinker with a winning formula.  But backups Francisco Garcia and Omri Casspi have both been so egregiously horrible of late that Hamilton has been thrust almost immediately into the fire.  On Tuesday against the Kings, Hamilton hit 4-7 from the field, including 2-3 from deep, en route to 12 points off the bench.  He followed that up last night by dropping in 16, with 4-8 accuracy on 3′s.

After the acquisition, the red flag on Hamilton was long range shooting where, at that point, he had made just 35% of his attempts.  Here is Michael Pina on the day of the acquisition:

Even though he’s only shooting 34.9% from behind the arc this season, Hamilton’s three-point shot is likely what caught Morey’s eye. For every two field goals Hamilton attempted, one three-pointer was launched. Good news, considering he’s an eagle eye from the corner (46.7% on 30 attempts).

Thanks to Dwight Howard’s presence and Houston’s up and down style, Hamilton should see more open looks than ever before. He was already 39.5% on catch-and-shoot threes while playing in an average offense with no real playmakers aside from Ty Lawson and (maybe) Evan Fournier. That’s decent, not great. But it should rise even higher once he’s afforded more open looks off the play-making genius of Harden, Parsons, and Lin.

Hamilton is now a scorching 6-11 from 3 since joining the team.  I went back to the box score and re-watched every one of those eleven attempts.  One of them was an end of quarter desperation heave.  All of the other ten were almost wide-open catch and shoots.  Four of those were from the elbow angle.  Five were from the corner.  One was from straight up top.

Hamilton missed the 3 from up top.  He made 3 of 4 from the elbow angle.  He made 3 of 5 from the corner.

It’s odd that Hamilton’s overall shooting numbers with Denver were so poor: at a basic glance, he seems to have good form, at least better than Parsons.  His elbow is in, feet are set, and follow-through and arc are sound.  His struggles, upon the early returns, would appear to be a product of Denver’s system where he might not have been afforded the daylight he has seen here in his first two games.  If Hamilton continues his selectivity from the corners, this might turn out to be yet another case of Daryl Morey finding value beneath the surface numbers.

Lastly, this is a little bit more of what he can do:

This type of slashing and athleticism, packaged into legitimate size is why Hamilton is even in the NBA.  The shooting is why Denver seems to have thrown him away.  The returns are early, but if he can continue to capitalize upon open looks from choice locations (ie: corner catch and shoots) and slash off pump fakes, Houston will have shored up its most glaring weakness at the cost of a third string point guard.  We will continue to keep an eye on this development, but for now, it looks like Morey struck gold from the trash heap yet again.

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Total comments: 10
  • Buckko says 4 months ago No you're not but we can still waive him for the roster spot, still have to pay him though.
  • Losthief says 4 months ago

    Casspi has been bounced from the rotation by demo and with the emergence of Hamilton and with Covington and Daniels waiting in the D-league, don't be surprised if Garcia along with casspi are gone this offseason.

    i think garcia's got a players option and default no-trade clause due to that rule with consecutive 1 year contracts. The same one that brooks had to wave for the trade to denver. I could be wrong on garcia tho.

  • Buckko says 4 months ago Casspi has been bounced from the rotation by demo and with the emergence of Hamilton and with Covington and Daniels waiting in the D-league, don't be surprised if Garcia along with casspi are gone this offseason.
  • dbd says 4 months ago

    Always good to see a player doing well especially after being traded. I hope he continue to do well.

    Unfortunate part is we have to wait and see. We were so high on Garcia and he faded; same with Cassipi.

    All three might not play well consistently. We may have to go with whoever doing well in warm-up.

  • PhillyCheese says 4 months ago

    Seemed most of his threes had him semi-open with time. I think the other teams have noticed and he will appear more on the scouting reports. We'll see how he does in the next two games. I still saw some confusion from him, but playing alongside Lin, I think they have established a nice rapport. On several of Lin's drives, Hamilton stay put for the kick out.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    I saw him pass one up last night...pretty much wide open from 20' and he passed it off.

  • Jatman20 says 4 months ago

    Also when I saw Hamilton on YouTube, I saw him run off the 3 point line a lot by a defender running at him; then he would step forward and take a 18-19 foot jump shot. Rockets don't approve of the 8 ft to toe-on-the-3-point-line shot.

  • Jatman20 says 4 months ago

    Hope he can slow it down a notch when he gets that long rebound and dribbles

    1 vs 3 defenders like last night. Clippers showed their hand prior to the playoffs. Expect the small Collison (PG) on Harden to get under his feet. Harden will need to post up......need Terrence to get his confidence from 3.

    May see Parsons at PF and Hamilton at SG when that occurs in the playoffs to take Griffin or D Jordan away from the post.

  • NorEastern says 4 months ago

    One of Morey's main strengths is his ability to evaluate talent and then map it into the Rockets offensive and defensive system domains. He hits more than he misses, and when he misses he misses small. A 3 and D wing with the ability to get to the rim occasionally is exactly what the Rockets needed. More so than an upgrade at the 4.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 months ago

    The knock on him when he was at UT was shot selection. He was one of those guys who never saw a shot he didn't like and never took a shot that he didn't believe was going in (he's got a touch of Monta-Ellis-Syndrome if left unchecked). His last year here he mostly got it under control. Maybe it's me, but I think he has grown taller since college. I don't remember him being that big.

    I think he will be a great fit here. He can create off the dribble, knock down shots from outside, rebound, and defend--what's not to like?