Wolves add Justin Hamilton, waive Glenn Robinson III


Dec 10, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Miami Heat center Justin Hamilton (7) looks to shoot the ball as Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov (25) defends during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The seemingly endless cycle of roster-churning for the Wolves continues.

Despite hanging onto this year’s second-round pick for nearly three-quarters of the season and frequently mentioning to the media that he was a first-round talent, Flip Saunders finally released Glenn Robinson III.

There isn’t much evidence that Robinson will turn into an effective pro player, but the move is puzzling on a number of levels. The Wolves clearly liked him to some effect, hanging onto him throughout a rash of mid-season injuries rather than releasing him in favor of adding depth at a thinner position like point guard or center.

The timing of this move is probably the strangest part, and while it no doubt had something to do with Nikola Pekovic‘s recent ankle flareup, it seems like somewhat of a waste to allow a good young player to hang around for most of the season, play limited minutes while never sending him the D-League, and ultimately waive him.

As for Justin Hamilton, well, at least they waived Robinson to acquire a player they apparently covet.

It seems as though Robinson would not have been dropped for just anyone, and this is more a matter of Saunders and Co. having a strong desire to acquire a specific center and once he became available, Robinson was the most sensible casualty.

Then again, the Wolves already have two centers in Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng that are no doubt better players. Unless a trade occurs in the off-season (unlikely due to how much they like Dieng and the size of Pekovic’s contract), Hamilton will be no more than a third-string center.

The Wolves’ newest seven-footer was a 2012 second-round pick by Philadelphia and was traded to the Miami Heat on draft night. He played his freshman year of college ball at Iowa State and then transferred to LSU to play one more year before turning pro.

After playing the 2012-13 season overseas, Hamilton played in just eight games for the Heat in 2013-14 but starred for the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Over the course of 39 games, Hamilton averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and two blocks per game and was selected to play in the D-League All-Star Game. He shot 49.1% from the field, including 37.8% from three-point range while attempting 2.1 long-balls per game.

While it’s encouraging to see that Hamilton more or less dominated in the D-League (unlike another recent Wolves’ acquisition), there isn’t much from his college days or his limited NBA action to suggest that he’ll turn into more than a backup center that can knock down a jumper. He’s played in 32 games over the past season-plus, 31 of them with Miami and one on a ten-day contract with Charlotte. He did not appear in a game while with New Orleans this season.

His NBA stats have been sub-par, pulling down just 9.3% of available rebounds thus far in his pro career and seeing what was a 4% block rate in the D-League plummet to just 1.5% when playing against the big boys.

It will be interesting to see Hamilton in the final weeks of the season as Pekovic’s minutes decrease, but the Wolves will apparently forever puzzle their fans with the timing, purpose, and consequences of so many of their roster moves.