While you're not likely to find the next Kevin Durant, LeBron James, or Paul George in the D-League player pool, it's still a golden opportunity to find a piece that could help fill a specific need or be a potential building block moving forward.
A solid example of that could be found in the signings from this past week.
In a span of 24 hours, Prospect Pyramid alums Hilton Armstrong (Golden State), Arinze Onuaku (Cleveland) and Dexter Pittman (Atlanta) signed 10 day contracts. The act of finding a solid reserve front-court player in the NBA is an extremely difficult task, because it's a lot tougher to find a skilled 7-footer than it is to find a perimeter-minded guard.
With Onuaku, Armstrong and Pittman heading to the NBA, the pool of skilled front-court players in the D-League is getting slim. That said, Prospect Pyramid staple and former NBA second round pick Justin Hamilton remains on the outside looking in.
As one of the featured players on the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Hamilton has taken that opportunity to become one of the more solid and consistent front-court players in the D-League.
While it's only been shown in brief glimpses, Hamilton showcases himself as a solid three-point marksmen by shooting around 40% from beyond the arc. Simply because his perimeter skills are so unique for a 7-foot big in the D-League, Hamilton has been able to utilize that trait to become a more evolved offensive player.
Justin Hamilton Offensive Compilation (via Dakota Schmidt)
Even though Hamilton separates himself from the competition with his solid jump-shooting ability, he's able to elevate above the rest with his skills as a low-post player. By utilizing the solid footwork that has allowed him to be an effective PnR big, Hamilton is always able to get in position to lace up a solid right-handed hook shot.
Hamilton's work as a versatile offensive 7-footer has been the main focus of this piece, but that shouldn't take away from his ability as an overall player. While he makes his living off his ability as an all-around offensive player through mid-ranger/perimeter shooting or post-ups, Hamilton is one of the NBADL's best offensive rebounders (3.7 offensive boards per game) which has definitely elevated his status amongst the rest of the D-League bigs.
While he wasn't touted for his defensive skills during his time with LSU, Hamilton has definitely elevated that part of his game during his stint with Sioux Falls. By utilizing the combination of solid footwork and overall awareness, Hamilton is able to pounce on a cutting opponent. Unlike the majority of the defensive bigs in the D-League, Hamilton really doesn't force a lot of fouls. Despite playing around 36 minutes, the Sioux Falls big has only averaged 2.1 fouls per game, which is stunning for a big man who plays a crucial role on a night-by-night basis with a playoff-contending team.
As we near the last remaining weeks of the 2013-14 NBA season, the search of an extra big man is going to be a major goal for many teams in The Association. With the amount of solid D-League big men available continuing to decrease, the Sioux Falls big stacks up as one of the best front-court players without an NBA contract.