The Smoking Cuban
Mavs News

Dallas Mavericks: Who Is A.J. Hammons?

Mar 13, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers center A.J. Hammons (20) grabs a rebound against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big Ten conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 13, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers center A.J. Hammons (20) grabs a rebound against the Michigan State Spartans during the Big Ten conference tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Dallas Mavericks selected center A.J. Hammons with the 46th pick in the second round of the NBA draft last night. In a two-piece post The Smoking Cuban looks at who Hammons is as a player and at his potential impact on the Mavericks roster for the upcoming season.

Aaron Jarrell Hammons, born on 27 August 1992, is from Indiana but attended famous talent pool Oak Hill Academy in Virginia which has produced players such as Rajon Rondo and Josh Smith.

For college, the 7-foot center returned to his home-state Indiana and played for Purdue in the Big Ten conference. Former Maverick Brian Cardinal is a Purdue alumni who has been in close contact with Hammons and probably provided the Mavs with some intel. In Hammons’ four seasons with the team, Purdue made the NCAA tournament twice, but lost in the first round each time and did not garner a Big Ten title.

The 270-pound center displayed a surprisingly soft touch around the basket, during the 2015-16 season he shot more than 80-percent from close range and nearly 60 percent overall.  His free-throw rate of 71 percent and 40 percent on 2-point jumpers suggests an above average ability to knock down shots from outside the paint as well.

Apart from the 2015-16 campaign, Hammons failed to impress offensively in his first three seasons at Purdue, as he averaged 10.6, 10.8 and 11.9 points per game respectively. But this past season, Hammons upped his scoring to 15 points an outing and also pulled down 8.2 boards per game. His player efficiency rating of 31 was one of the best in the country.

While his offensive skill set and athleticism make him a potential impact player on the offensive end sometime in the future, it is on defense where the Mavericks can probably hope to integrate Hammons immediately. During his last three seasons at Purdue, Hammons averaged 3.1, 2.8, and 2.5 blocks per game.

In addition to his shot-blocking ability (he rejected more than 50 percent of his teams blocked shots during the last three seasons) Hammons is also pretty mobile considering his size and weight and while he will probably never hedge on the pick and roll on defense he should be able to deter guards if he drops back and stays in the paint.

Although there are plenty promising features to Hammons game, there are also some issues that led to his second round status. The rookie turns twenty-four in August which is always a turn-off for scouts and teams but the Mavericks have long coveted older and experienced college players.

More from The Smoking Cuban

While age is not an issue for Dallas, his conditioning will definitely have to improve if Hammons wants to play under Rick Carlisle. Depending on the source Hammons weight is sometimes said to be around 250 pounds and sometimes as high as 280. Additionally, there are also questions surrounding his attitude and supposedly low motor during his first three-years in college.

Lastly, despite his promise on offense and defense, Hammons is still pretty raw as far as his overall game is concerned and will probably struggle adjusting to the NBA. That said, development for big men traditionally takes longer and the 7-foot Hammons looks like a throwback to the NBA centers of old and could potentially provide a break from the trend to small ball that has currently swept the league away.

facebooktwitterreddit