Six Interesting Low Profile Players Outside the NBA
by Rafael Uehara
Lamont Hamilton: Hamilton is a six-foot-nine stretch five currently playing for Laboral Kutxa Baskonia of the Euroleague and the Spanish league. He has hit 42.4% of his 33 three-point attempts in 278 minutes on both leagues this season. Aside from three-point range, Hamilton has flashed outstanding passing skills, averaging 2.4 assists per 28 minutes in the Eurolegue. Beside his height and 242-pound frame, what makes Hamilton a legit center rather than just a tall floor spacing specialist is his shot blocking. His rebounding is arguably below average and his pick-and-roll defense is much maligned but Baskonia has defended 13 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor among Europe’s elite.
Josh Carter: Carter is one of the very best shooters in the globe. He has shot 50-for-114 (43.8%) from three-point in 452 minutes for Montepaschi Siena in the Euroleague and the Italian league this season, coming off 39.5% and 38.9% the previous two campaigns with Spartak Saint Petersburg and Maccabi Ashdod. Carter does not do much else on offense and is a forgettable defender but as far as long-range gunning goes, some out there might be as good but no one is better.
Yi Jianlian: Yi was the sixth pick of the 2007 draft and looked promising across his first three seasons, first in Milwaukee and then alongside Brooke Lopez under Lawrence Frank’s tutelage in New Jersey. Then he blew his knee, was dumped in the mess that was the Andray Blatche, Nick Young, Javale McGee-led Wizards, hung around with Dallas another year before returning home last season. He was named the most valuable player of the Chinese league that year and posts numbers that suggest dominant play there; 24.8 PER, 1.38 points per shot, 53.3% effective shooting, 13 rebounds per 36 minutes this campaign, according to realgm.com. Yi no longer takes three-pointers, probably because he doesn’t need to there, which is unfortunate because in his second year in the NBA, he shot 48-for-140 from beyond the arc, a below average but healthy 34.3%. Everyone knows Yi, so what’s so interesting about him? This is still his age-26 season.
Lin Zhijie: I don’t really know anything about him. His statistical profile last season suggested a solid all around perimeter producer but it is quite bad this season. His highlight reel is awesome, though.
Wang Zhelin: Zhelin broke out in the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit and is having a terrific start to his pro career since. At 19 years of age, he is posting a 22.7 PER, 1.53 points per shot, 59% effective shooting and 10.5 rebounds per 36 minutes in 741 minutes in the CBA this season, according to realgm.com. Draft Express currently projects him as a low end second round pick in the 2014 draft but it’s unlikely he will declare this year. As the starting center of the Chinese national team (a status he acquired last summer), Zhelin will get more notoriety outside of China with his participation in the upcoming world cup of basketball, to which the Chinese are expected to be invited after failing to qualify through the Asian championships.
Brian Butch: 15.6 PER, 1.3 points per shot, 57.6% effective shooting, 41.8% three-point shooting on 67 attempts, 11.8 rebounds per 36 minutes in 451 minutes by Butch in the D-League this season. This is what he has consistently been doing for three years now. I understand the defensive concerns but the total and complete lack of interest by the NBA puzzle me anyway.