The Miami Heat’s trend of unsuccessful draft picks hit a bump in the road with the acquisition of Norris Cole, but it seems to have continued on into 2012.
Trading away their first-round pick for a second-round pick and a future first-round pick, the Heat garnered LSU’s Justin Hamilton with the 45th pick in the draft. Hamilton, a 7′ power forward, was selected by the Heat not only for his size, but for his ability to stretch the floor with a jump shot that even extends beyond the perimeter. Expectations weren’t heavy, but the Heat held out hope that he could possibly address some needs under the rim.
In three Summer League games with the Heat, he sat out the first two with a minor ailment, Hamilton averaged nine points, four rebounds and a little over four personal fouls per game. His best performance out of the three games would be a 15-point, 8-rebound effort against the San Antonio Spurs, where he shot 5-of-8 from the field and converted all five of his free-throw attempts.
Alas, it didn’t convince the Heat to fill in one of the two open spots left on the roster. Hamilton will not be playing for the Miami Heat this season, as he will be playing instead with Cibonia Zagreb, a basketball club out of Croatia. The contract Hamilton signed is valid for one season.
The Heat still own the rights to Hamilton under NBA rules and will not affect the team in the salary cap or luxury tax. You may have heard the Heat doing this with the likes of former draft picks in Jarvis Varnado, who was invited to train with the Heat, and Robert Dozier.
While I may be a little hasty to declare Hamilton as yet another bust to arise out of a Heat draft, but it’s unlikely he’ll change the mind of the team that thinks he’s not worthy of a roster spot, despite the team having an obvious need for a power forward or center.
Either way, I suggest you start calling your cable provide so you can get the Croatian package.