The Denver Nuggets were eliminated from the tournament at the Las Vegas NBA Summer League on Thursday with a 95-78 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Though there’s an air of disappointment with that outcome with the young guys with Denver at Summer League, they did get another great game from third-year winger Jordan Hamilton.
On Thursday Hamilton saw the floor for 29 minutes and put up an impressive offensive performance. He finished the contest with 25 points on 10-21 shooting from the field and 4-10 shooting from long-range. He also added three boards, one assists, two steals and one block to his scoring output.
Hamilton struggled on July 13 in the Nuggets’ first game in Vegas, putting up only four points on 1-11 shooting from the field, though he did grab an impressive nine rebounds. He was a little better in their next game, notching 11 points, seven boards and two steals while going 4-11 from the field and 3-5 from deep, but he still seemed a bit off. However, in the two games he’s played since then, he’s looked much more the part of an NBA-caliber wing player.
The Nuggets had a game every day from Monday to Thursday, but Hamilton wasn’t in Vegas on Tuesday as he was attending a funeral for his cousin. Hamilton told Nate Timmons of Denver Stiffs that the funeral was “on his mind” and “affected his game” in the first two days of Summer League, but he was able to be more engaged over the past two games in Vegas.
His play has definitely reflected that. Over his past two games, Hamilton has combined for 48 points on 18-35 shooting and 8-17 three-point shooting and a solid seven rebounds and four steals. He’s played aggressively on the offensive end, looking for his shot, getting good looks and knocking those looks down.
Now former Nuggets head coach George Karl never seemed to give Hamilton much run over the past two seasons. In two years in the league, Hamilton has appeared in just 66 games and has played just 9.9 minutes per game while averaging 4.9 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from three.
With Andre Iguodala now out of Denver, though, there are rotation minutes to be had at shooting guard for the Nuggets. Hamilton, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier will likely be competing in training camp and the preseason to see who earns those minutes at the two-guard. If Hamilton is able to shoot the ball effectively from long-range and be assertive offensively like he has in Summer League, it’s hard to imagine him not finding his way into some solid minutes for the Nuggets next season.