A.J. Hammons, whom the Mavs selected 46th overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft, has the chance to be a pretty special player in this league. Not only does he have an NBA-ready 7-foot frame, offensive touch, and rim-protecting skills which set him apart at the NCAA level, but he also has four years’ experience being coached at a high-level D-I program and playing in competitive games.
There’s certainly a lot to like about the 23-year-old rookie — read about his game and biggest strengths here — but before he can show off his ability to his new teammates and the rest of the NBA landscape, perhaps as soon as next month in Las Vegas, Hammons had a conference call with local media to discuss his reaction to being drafted, answer questions about his motor, and describe his style of play.
Click to listen to the full audio, and continue reading below for a transcript of some of the highlights.
On being a two-way player: I will definitely come in and help with the defensive side — you know, rebounding, just blocking shots. But I’ve also been working on my offensive artillery throughout the summer. I’m just gonna keep adding to it.
On his relationship with the Mavericks so far: We have a good relationship. I talked to (head coach Rick Carlisle) last night. It seems like it’s going to be a great program. Everybody’s going to be welcoming, even though I went to Purdue and Mark Cuban went to IU and everything. But I feel like it’s going to be great.
On his relationship with Brian Cardinal: I haven’t really actually talked to him (since I got drafted), which is a shocker. But we’re good friends. He always encouraged me every time he’d come to the games. He always helps me out, keeps giving me advice and motivation. He’s a good friend to have around, especially since he played for the Mavs, so I know he’s going to reach out to me at some point in time to help me out and get me acclimated with everything.
On how he feels his shooting will transfer to the NBA: I’m very comfortable with outside shooting. I worked on it a lot this offseason. I feel very comfortable with it, and I showed in some of the workouts that I can shoot it from 3, I can shoot deep 2s. Now I’ve got to get used to bringing it every day, going against that kind of talent every day.
Also, he’ll be wearing No. 20 for the Mavs. (He’s worn 20 since he was in high school.)