The all-time Big East NBA mock draft

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Jalen Brunson
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Jalen Brunson /
27 of 31
9 Dec 1998: Forward Mike Babul
9 Dec 1998: Forward Mike Babul /

Richard Hamilton

SG, Connecticut

No. 7 overall pick in 1999

1998-99 UConn stats (Junior): 21.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists per game (Won National Title)

This may feel high for Rip, especially over Iverson and Mutombo. But no one fits the mold of what modern NBA teams want from their two-guards than Hamilton. While his defense didn’t really flesh out until he got to Detroit, Hamilton had a great defensive profile, a 6-foot-7 wing with great vertical athleticism and a strong basketball IQ. Hamilton’s advanced understanding of the game is what is most enticing about his translation to the NBA. Even at UConn, Hamilton made smart plays on both ends of the floor, and overcame some inconsistent technique with great drive and gamesmanship on that end. He was also one of the most advanced off-ball movers we’ve seen at the college level, able to sniff out holes in the defense for back-cuts, or slip to the corner to find catch-and-shoot opportunities. Much like current draft prospect Luka Doncic, you can overlook some of his weaknesses simply based on his ability to read the floor like a veteran.

He also added strong off-the-dribble play as a scorer, and he was a strong transition passer, able to whip pinpoint passes to teammates on a crowded break. His jumper mechanics were also solid, and combined with his off-ball slashing, it wasn’t hard to see some three-level scoring ability coming, even if he wasn’t going to generate his own looks consistently. I’m much more intrigued by Hamilton in today’s game than I am by Butler, Gay, or Mullin. That combination of advanced decision-making, a good defensive profile, and three-level scoring is coveted right now, and in the right landing spot he becomes a star.